Federal judge denies reinstatement of TUSD’s Mexican American Studies classes

A federal judge has denied the request by MALDEF, in the district’s desegregation case, to reinstate the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies classes.

“The Court finds that discontinuance of the MASD courses during the remainder of the USP’s life expectancy will not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution by intentionally segregating or discriminating against student’s based on race or ethnic group. Nor can it be asserted that the racial or ethnic balance in any school will be affected.”

On January 6, 2012, the Court appointed Dr. Willis Hawley to serve as a Special Master in this case.

The Governing Board passed the Resolution in response to a Notice of Violation issued by the Arizona Superintendent of Education John Huppenthal, finding the District in violation of A.R.S. § 15-112. As a result the Board voted to suspend the classes.

MALDEF, on behalf of the Mendoza plantiffs, then filed a Response to the District’s suspension of the MASD courses and requested that the Special Master and the Court take action to enforce the PUSP and reinstate the courses.

On February 23, 2012, the Special Master sent a memorandum to the Court in response to MALDEF’s request for an enforcement order. The Special Master agreed that discontinuation these courses violated the PUSP. However, the PUSP was made moot when the Ninth Circuit took away the district’s unitary status in its ruling that the district had acted in bad faith. The Court placed the district back under court supervision.

At the time the PUSP was put in place, the Fisher plaintiffs strenuoulsy objected to it. They had fought only for those programs which had proven success for underserved students.

According to the Court, the Special Master “is currently moving forward in an expeditious pace to develop” a new “Initial (draft) USP, which will include comprehensive strategies for meeting the academic and social-developmental needs of Mexican American students. The Special Master warns against sidetracking the efforts necessary to prepare the Initial USP, which is due within six months (June 2012), by shifting the focus to a debate regarding the merits of specific provisions in the PUSP. The Court agrees.”

In response to the Special Master’s memorandum, MALDEF filed a Notice of their intent to object to it, pursuant to subsection V(3) of the Order Appointing Special Master.

The Court said that it “does not intend to delay the Special Master’s work regarding development of the USP to debate the merits of enforcing this provision of the PUSP, and rules on the Plaintiffs Mendoza’s request, without the benefit of further briefing.”

MALDEF may file a Motion to Reconsider.