Mexican American Studies Arce arrested for domestic violence

Arce leaves behind broken windows and blood

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

To read the complete record by Tucson Police in the arrest of TUSD’s former MAS director, Sean Arce Arce Case.1212090089 click here. Authorities have redacted the names, the materials are published in full the names have been redacted to protect witnesses and victims.


  1. We are confused is it MAS that was arrested for domestic violence or Arce? Did you even reach out to Arce for comment? Yes, the story is a sad one, but the guilt by association is awful. Your selective outrage is duly noted. Hope you can be more consistent in reporting about others as well in AZ, but we doubt it.

    • I know the new owner of ADI and he is dedicated to reporting of both sides of the spectrum. If you have some newsworthy things that can be reported on especially on these “OTHERS” please feel free to contact the publisher!!

    • Apparently, you did not read the article very carefully. Well, one did not even need to read it carefully to know that Arce was ARRESTED. So there is not guilt by association, unless you call police evidence (witnesses, dried blood on hand) as “association.”

      Judging by your moniker, we can all tell where your agenda loyalty lies anyway. The Arizona Daily Independent is a lot more consistent in its reporting than the Star or just about every newspaper out there. You should be complaining about “consistency” to them instead.

  2. There’s that Grijalva name again still promoting racism and hatred of the oppressive white man. Tribalism is the worst form of negativity in our society. It doesn’t allow anyone to leave “The Group”. It promotes isolationism and separates us. I do believe that’s what the Grijalva’s and the rest of their ilk want. Keep us hating each other and who gets the power? TUSD should be ashamed to be associated with such a losing philosophy. Get your kids out now.

  3. Esque no la friegen raza! porque la gente pinsa que los hispanos apoyan el desmadre que se llama MAS? solamente porke unos mugres cholos intimidan a la gente todos piensan que somos iguales… pinche curriculum esta como para lavarle el coco a los ninos que no? sacken esa mamada de el distrito escolar y permite que aprendan los ninos acerca la escuela! Si quieren aprender mas acerca estudios mexicano para eso exciste el collegio! no se porke tantos hispanos abren los ojos y se informan embez de seguir a los demas…. y lo que iso el desgraciado del arce ojala y algien de lo agarre a guantasos al guey!

    • The only reason you have the right of free speach is because of English speakers who wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The reason that the USA is the great nation (Before obama.) it is, is because of English speakers. Without the great numbers of Europeons who came to this country the indigeous people would still be plowing with mules. Speak English, or get out!

      • whats so funny Mr. Minuteman, is that if you knew spanish you would see that this person is on your side. Ignorance is not a very good flag to fly….

        • Sir, the point is we all in America have the freedom to not need to learn any language other then our countries language which is English. Wouldn’t it make more sense that my relatives and yours learn English and be able to communicate?

  4. actually it is not.. hes talking crap about the MAS program and states that ARCE should get knocked the F out….

  5. They claim to be peaceful people and all they do is harm and distort the minds of children and the people around them.

  6. …and these are the people associated with MAS and indoctrinating the TUSD children with the help of some on the school board, including one Ms.Grijalva.

  7. Sean Arce should learn a valuable lesson: When making a name for yourself through identity politics, one must make sure there is no one who can claim you are the oppressor and they are the oppressed AND they can provide witnesses.

  8. Where, please, is a similar character assasination based on the charges of extortion and leaving the scene of a crime and sleazy personal life of Tom Horne?

    • Ms. Putnam-Hidalgo we reported directly from the Tucson Police report. We are not interested in character assassination. We are interested that possibly someone with a teaching certificate in the state of Arizona is accused of breaking the law. We share the public’s outrage anytime someone is a victim of domestic violence. We find the MASogynists apologists to be ignoring the victim in this case.

      On the matter of Horne, we have covered his abuse of power in several stories and cartoons. You might find these of interest:



    • Wow as a parent and Taxpayer I am so grateful that you didn’t get elected to the governing Board. Although Foster and Juarez are committed MAS supporters who make it clear that they support people like Sean Arce teaching our children “Authentic Caring”.

    • Betts didn’t you have an op-ed here recently? Your hypocrisy is astonishing. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me, but it does disappoint me, I thought you were at least an intellectually honest ideologue, but I should know by now that ideologues can never really be intellectually honest. After all that is what allows you to be an ideologue in the first place.

      • Kim…hum….how many Kim’s are there? That’s the issue with these anonymous blogs. I am not biting but here I am reading these posts.

  9. Any place Laraza M.E.C.H.A. L.U.L.A.C.Apears along with the Reconquistors . Gaveljaws Mary rose Wilcux and the Little America Hateing Witch for Atzlan( That Killed Sheriff Joe on Tucsons Streets)))Ex Mayor Phillipe Gordon Please send them back to Mexico Disrupt Mexico not Americans and America>>

  10. It was obvious for the start that this man had a lot of hatred in his heart. Unfortunately, he passed on his hateful teachings to some vulnerable kids. I’ve heard some of the students talk. They have hatred in their hearts, too. Hopefully, they’ll unlearn the Mexican-American hatred that was thrust on them.

  11. In the following section, Olmeca shares his reflection as it relates to the issue/struggle:

    This is about my wrong doings…about losing sight of ones role in the community and failure to see ones position of privilege. This is about how we can disrespect each other as men and women and individuals in a community that is striving to create a space of rebellion and healing. As people of color in the struggle we are constantly under attack. So, this is about correcting the wrong, amending the heart, and ensuring we walk together thru a process so that we don’t perpetuate the problem or leave room for outsiders to further instigate.

    My disregard for my role in the community during this time and my position in the community placed a burden on muxeres in Tucson, the community in struggle in Tucson and my own in Los Angeles. Although, I did not cross sexual boundaries, I crossed the boundaries as a mentor and community leader and disrespected boundaries in a community space.

    Understanding the impact of my actions, I have been reflecting and participating in collective reflection to ensure those affected are respected as the healing process continues.

    For the 1st year or so, I took a step back from creating music, writing and networking. I went to independent counseling to get deeper understanding and reflect on my actions. Throughout the process I sought dialogues to reflect and get a perspective from close relatives who were affected and who had heard of the issue. I went to Tucson and met with the muxeres directly. We made agreements. They included; not performing for Ethnic Studies; seeking counseling and not participating in Tucson or spaces where some of the women affected may be present. Honoring those agreements, I also opted out of participating in anything having to do with Ethnic Studies. Even if we agreed that fundraising was okay, my participation in fundraising didn’t keep people from asking questions or questioning whether or not they should be involved. It was better for me to opt-out of that work than to jeopardize it by participating.

    At the same time, there were heavy misconceptions about my actions and they needed to be addressed. I called for community dialogues in L.A. to listen to the community’s concerns, feelings about the issue. My family was also affected. I realized that my doings didn’t grant degradation to my character at this level or humiliation to my family or those who were participating in this process.

    Dialogues with my community in L.A. have been medicine both for myself and the community as a whole. The muxeres in Tucson have been thru a lot and I am humbled by their process. They held me accountable and I have nothing else to do, but grow as a man, community member and honor their palabra. I hope that thru this process, we can all continue to gain knowledge about ourselves and grow stronger as a community in struggle.

    This statement is to address community who has either been affected by this issue or have misconceptions or misinterpretations in regards to the issue. The women in Tucson have acknowledged this process and welcome Olmeca back into their community. We would like to note that this closure is still in process and ask that those involved in this process not be asked to delve into details and allow for closure to take place here in Los Angeles and in Tucson.

    We reiterate and acknowledge that agreements were created out of the community dialogue. Therefore, we also want to honor the process that was created. Having shared the reflection and the end of the process, we ask community to refute misconceptions, support the process in Tucson and Los Angeles and respect Olmeca’s participation in this process.

    We hope all those who read this honor the pain of the muxeres affected in Tucson, and in their choice to not remain silent or be silenced as it was difficult, emotional and an issue that was imposed on them. The community of Tucson, Arizona, including the muxeres, youth, and teachers share this difficult experience and it is important for our community to acknowledge and learn from it.

    With respect,

    Community of Los Angeles

    *This came about because in July of 2010 while in Tucson with Olmeca, myself along with my compañera and another artist discovered that, Olmeca was attempting to start relations with one of the young mujeres from a Tucson student group SJEP, that Olmeca was asked to speak too, serve as a mentor and be an example for. We confronted Olmeca about it that night and asked him to quit what he was doing. Upon returning to Los Angeles we received news that he was also having inappropriate conversations and making disrespectful advances torwards two other young mujeres from the same student group. Once again we confronted him about this in late August, 2010. After a long heated meeting we made acuerdos that night in which we asked him and he agreed to respect the mujeres’ space and time of healing and allow them the opportunity to address this situation with their community, peers and Ethnic Studies staff. Within two week’s time he broke those acuerdos, placed the 3 young women and their peers in much more difficult situations, added further stress to a community that was already burdened by the Ethnic Studies struggle. From that point forward I choose to confront this openly, without a template to address these kinds of issues of men in power, overstepping boundaries and abusing power dynamics in their best interest. I made mistakes in not addressing this in a much more open platform, but that happens when individuals are trying to silence things “for the good of the movement”. Regardless no matter what repercussions we suffered along with loss of friendships here in LA, blacklisting or whatever resulting effects came of us addressing Olmeca’s actions, I stand behind holding him accountable to not only his disrespectful actions towards the 3 young mujeres but also the stress and burden he added to the community of Tucson.

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