Mexican American Studies Arce arrested for domestic violence

The man who claims to have created “Barrio Pedagogy” which is the foundation of TUSD’s former Mexican American Studies classes was arrested for domestic violence this month. Sean Martin Arce, called by proponents a maestro of “authentic caring,” was arrested by Tucson Police who responded to two calls of Domestic Violence and “a break-in in progress.”

According to police reports, the string of violence began at La Cocina, in the 200 block of North Court when Arce approached his ex-wife; Essence Arce. Witnesses reported that Arce had grabbed Ms. Arce’s elbow, hyper extending her elbow. Arce was “forcibly pulling her away from her friend….. Unknown bar patrons intervened and separated” Arce from his ex-wife.” Once Ms. Arce “was free” of Arce, “the two (women) fled.” They drove to Ms. Arce’s home.

After a short while, the friend called Ms. Arce to advise her that she had seen Arce in the neighborhood walking toward Ms. Arce’s home. Immediately after she got the phone call, someone started banging loudly on the sliding glass door at the rear of the home. Ms. Arce “fled the home through the garage and left” in a friend’s car, while another friend called 911. Ms. Arce awaited the police at a friend’s home.

Prior to the arrival of the police a neighbor also reported a break-in in progress. The neighbor advised police that he had heard banging at his neighbor’s house and went to investigate. The neighbor found a man unknown to him inside the home. He appeared to be bleeding from his right hand. The neighbor yelled out and Arce responded, “Are you a cop?” Arce then fled down the hallway and exited out through the garage.

The neighbor followed Arce until he (Arce) got into a white sedan.

When police arrived they found “the front door to the residence and garage door open and two windows on the eastside of the home were broken, one completely out.“ One officer “found blood on some glass by the broken window and also on the front door.”

Ms. Arce told police that Arce was “staying at the Marriott resort at 3800 W. Star Pass to celebrate his birthday,” according to the police report. Officers responded to the Marriott and confirmed that Arce was staying there.

They went to his room and detained him. Arce had dried blood on his right hand according to an officer.

Arce was placed under arrest and taken to the Pima County Jail where he was booked for Domestic Violence Assault, Domestic Violence Damage, and Domestic Violence Trespassing.

Just this month, the Arizona Attorney General offered instances of harassment and intimidation used by the staff of TUSD’s Mexican American Studies program. A social science teacher, Ron Silverman, observed that the MAS Program curriculum employs brainwashing practices that results in marked changes in the students. While he was teaching at TUSD, he criticized the veracity of information disseminated in the MAS history class for failing to provide any primary source material and actual historically documented facts, as opposed to “feel good” information.

As a result of his criticism, some MAS history teachers, including Sean Arce and Curtis Acosta, called him a racist and openly encouraged their students to call him a racist as well. It has been reported that Arce, a former San Jose State football player, attempted to physically intimidate by chest bumping at least one teacher as well.

This past year, Arce “chest bumped” TUSD Governing Board member Michael Hicks during a recess in a school Board meeting. During the Governing Board takeover by Mexican American Studies proponents in the spring of 2011, Arce physically assaulted one woman twice. Both victims refused to press charges.

In April 2012, the TUSD Governing Board voted to not renew Arce’s contract with the district. Alexandre Sugiyama, who was defeated soundly in the November 2012 election, and Adelita Grijalva, whose term is up in 2014 voted to retain Arce.

Since being terminated by TUSD, Arce has travelled around the country visiting various colleges and universities promoting the barrio pedagogy’s version of “authentic caring” as well as Mexican American Studies. In October he gave a presentation at Brown University’s Annenberg School of Reform and won the 2012 Myles Horton Award for “Teaching People’s History” and, according to Zinn Education Project co-director Bill Bigelow, helping “students imagine themselves as promoters of justice.”

Progressive Congressman Raul Grijalva, father to TUSD Board member Adelita Grijalva said of Arce, “Sean Arce, as a teacher and as director of MAS, has been key to the success of the program and to the very necessary ongoing effort to save it. He has helped lead the program to a standard of excellence that we all continue to admire, and he will help lead it back to that same standard when these politically motivated attacks on students and education are just a bad memory.”

According to Arce, he and Grijalva were both Mexican American Studies majors and “but we were also part of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán).” Arce testified during the district’s appeal of the finding that the MAS classes violated state law that MAS students are encouraged to join MEChA as well.

MEChA says that through their organization students adopt “their new identity, the students committed themselves to return to the barrios, colonias, or campos and together, struggle against the forces that oppress our gente. Lastly, the affirmation that we are Indigenous people to this land by placing our movement in Aztlan, the homeland of all peoples from Anahuak.”

Arce and his MAS co-founder, Augie Romero, claim that TUSD’s Mexican American Studies classes employed, “Critical Pedagogy, Critical Race Theory, and authentic caring as the foundation of an equitable educational experience.” In order to support their curriculum, they cited Peter MacLaren’s view that “without their humanity, our students struggle to gain a critical consciousness. Without humanity and a critical consciousness, these students become the premier prey for cultural and capitalist predators.”

Leaving one long time educator to pose these rhetorical questions, “Perhaps Arce was authentically caring about his ex-wife when he hyper-extended her arm and broke her windows. If so, does that sort of caring belong in our schools? You have to wonder if Rep. Grijalva thinks this abuse of Ms. Arce was a “politically motivated attack” by her ex-husband or just another case of a woman being subjected to abuse by an abusive ex-husband?”

Arce was booked for Domestic Violence Assault, Domestic Violence Damage, and Domestic Violence Trespassing.

Related articles:

Court told of mistreatment by TUSD MAS staff

Intimidation attempts fail to stop TUSD Board

TUSD desegregation hearing focuses on Mexican American Studies