On Wednesday, desegregation plaintiff representative Lorraine Richardson Ph.D. sent a letter to TUSD Board president Adelita Grijalva questioning her motives behind recent comments. Richardson blasted Grijalva’s comments as “disrespectful and divisive.”
Grijalva, who has a history of favoring Hispanic students while neglecting all others, was called out by Richardson regarding recent comments she made about the Fisher Plaintiffs, who represent African American students. Grijalva alleged after recent contentious meetings with the court appointed Special Master and the plaintiffs that that there is a “lack of collaboration,” because within “one group there is not even agreement.”
In her letter, Richardson writes, “If during a meeting of open dialogue and free flowing discussion, there were some differences of opinion among us on strategy or methodology that should not be construed as disagreement regarding the ultimate goal. We wish to make one thing absolutely clear: the Fisher Plaintiffs are united in our commitment to improving the level of education that African American students receive in TUSD.”
Richardson then advised Grijalva that the Fisher plaintiffs “question your motivation in stating your perceived disagreement among the three Fisher Representatives. Besides being wrong, it is disrespectful and divisive.”
During Grijalva’s tenure on the Board the racial tensions in the District have been elevated. Grijalva, and her father, Congressman Raul Grijalva have gained power by stoking division for years. As a matter of fact, it is widely known that president Grijalva does not want the District to achieve Unitary Status because doing so would eliminate the funding provided for the process of integrating segregated schools. Once integrated, the generous funding dries up.
Grijalva, and the District’s superintendent H.T. Sanchez have fought a bitter battle with the plaintiffs and Board members Michael Hicks and Mark Stegeman Ph.D., to prevent integration.
Richardson, a highly respected educator over decades in the state of Arizona, referred to that struggle in her letter. “It is particularly interesting that you would take it upon yourself to make this judgment when the division among members of the Governing Board is so stark and opinions coming from central administration are so contradictory. During the Governing Board Meeting on October 14, 2014, while some members were making comments, others were shaking their heads, grimacing, and/or leaving the dais.”
Richardson concludes, “It would behoove you to put your TUSD house in order prior to criticizing the Fisher Plaintiff Representatives for freely expressing their opinions.”