Educators, victims, women react to Arce assault

Since December 9, the night of Sean Arce’s arrest for Domestic Violence, rumors have been swirling around both conservative and progressive circles about the circumstances of his crime spree.

Those, who some claim were present at the time; both Curtis Acosta and David Abie Morales, now say the police have it all wrong. However, hiding in the shadows behind anonymous email accounts and blogs, the women of MAS have tried to get their message out to the public, to little avail.

One reporter reports receiving a plea for help in an anonymous email, but without enough information to even begin to look into the matter. The Arizona Daily Independent only uncovered the truth of the incident after a source finally discovered that the case was buried deep in the records of Tucson City Court, and not Superior Court where one would most likely find a record of such vicious crimes.

Now, the truth is out and the voices of the women behind the Chicano Movement in Tucson are finally being heard across the political spectrum; albeit anonymously.

From Pamela Powers Hannley of the Tucson Progressive website, to TUSD Governing Board member Michael Hicks and everyone in between concerned Arizonans are expressing their outrage over Arce’s atrocious antics. Meanwhile, the usual apologists for the MAS “leadership” such as Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriquez and David Abie Morales remain silent or raise doubts about the police.

Pam Powers Hannley wrote on the subject on the Tucson Progressive Facebook page, “Last year, the Daniel Patterson case showed that it doesn’t matter who you are, domestic violence is not OK. The Sean Arce case reveals the same lesson: physical violence against another person– particularly a smaller, weaker person– is inappropriate and inexcusable.”

Powers told the AZDI that she speaks from experience and with gratitude, “”I suffered severe burns as a result of domestic violence incident many, many years ago and still have the scars on my arm. I am so glad Arce’s wife was tipped off so she could safely leave the house.”

TUSD Governing Board member Michael Hicks who has been a victim of Arce’s abuse in the past, is particularly strident when it comes to domestic abuse. His mother was murdered by his father when he was only an infant and was left in the care of his grandparents when his father was sent away to prison. “There is no telling what a man who is capable of this kind of violence can do. We cannot allow this type of person to be held out as a role model for our vulnerable youth. The people who ran MAS before held themselves out as some sort of deities, as chosen people, and now this? We cannot allow our young men and women to believe that abuse is okay, no matter who is involved.”

“As a woman, I am appalled by Sean Arce’s actions as well as the nonchalant attitude some defending him appear to hold on the matter,’ said Lisa Ruth, a dedicated Arizona educator. “As an educator, it is demeaning to the education community to continue fostering Arce’s influence in any capacity; after all, anyone entering the education field has to have a background check and when applying for certification, there is a long list of questions specific to domestic violence, abuse of children and being a threat to others in a number of ways. We know that abusive behavior does not begin over night so the incident calls into question what other ‘incidents’ may have been buried or perhaps, not reported at all.

Sean Arce is not only a threat to his former wife, but his abuse of vulnerable high school students through the indoctrination process he co-designed for the TUSD MAS curriculum has been widely documented – not to mention the program has been defeated.

With the crescendo of discussion focused these days on violence in society and in our schools, Sean Arce has become Tucson’s posterboy for both.”
Another long time educator questioned the Special Master appointed by the federal court in the district’s desegregation case, “We need to ask Willis Hawley whether he actually understands that machismo misogyny is an essential part of MAS. By supporting this pedagogical approach for MAS classes he is either turning a blind eye or tacitly supporting the violence towards women symbolized by Sean Arce. Anyone who supports him supports these behaviors because they cannot be separated from his politics. The essence of critical race pedagogy is that everything we do is a representation of our political stance. By his own words and deeds Arce condemns the misogyny inherent in the MAS program.”

Lou, of the Lou Show, a progressive online radio program, posted on Powers’s Facebook page that “DA Morales won’t like this!! However, he’ll probably selectively ignore it and simply call you a racist for publishing it.” Far more significant though is the malintZINE blog, purportedly written by an anonymous member of the “Chicano Movement in Tucson.” On that blog, which describes itself as “an online zine by radical women & queer people of color,” one post entitled Dear Sean, reads like an indictment:

“I’m writing to you with your daughter in mind. With my daughter and all our children in mind.

You’ve been nationally and internationally recognized and occupy the center of the Chicano Movement in Tucson – the civil rights battle for Mexican American studies, banned books and the legal fight against Arizona’s HB2281, all while perpetuating problematic internalized sexism that has been the root of our trauma over the last several years. You have said yourself, you’re a “machismo” a “macho” and your behavior with your partner, partners, our young men and women reflect that. You wear your male privilege shamelessly, more so when you’re drinking.

Too many of us – my sisters, my home girls, my comadres have been physically and/or sexually abused in our homes. Our fathers, brothers, tios and homeboys have never been held accountable and no one involved has healed. So I hope that someday you can understand what it triggers for us when instances of gendered violence take place in this home.

You’re overbearing, too loud, too often the voice and energy that dominates our shared space and story at the sacrifice of women.

Step the fuck down – step back. The center of our movement needs to be a collective identity of our young people. Any social movement leader, journalist, educator, director should want to challenge their machismo by continuously challenging gendered violence which includes homophobic and misogynistic language (feminism is not a joke!) and acknowledging and working to build up leaders who are not predominantly (solely) hetero-cis men and foster a willingness to challenge your internalized sexism.”

It is unlikely, according to MAS insiders that Arce will “step the fuck down.” What is more likely, according to frustrated Tucson High teachers who are fed up with the whole MAS soap opera is that the students will get defensive and start protecting Arce, and offer rationalizations his behavior. The demonization of the Tucson Police will continue and anyone who questions Arce and his fellow MAS cronies will be marginalized the same way as the poster in the malintZINE blog said she was marginalized.

Recently Arce said that TUSD’s MAS program could never be resurrected without him and his fellow MAS crew members. Many fellow educators agree that no one of good conscience could teach those classes the way they were taught by some of those macho men. They say, “It is dead and buried; it should stay that way.”

To read the report Arce Case.1212090089 click here.

Related article:

Mexican American Studies Arce arrested for domestic violence

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.