TUSD MAS books spotlight

Photo: Fernanda Echavarri

Copies of "Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement" on a shelf at Tucson Magnet High School's library.

U.S. District Judge Wallace Tashima has upheld the constitutionality of Arizona's law that prohibits schools from offering courses that teach ethnic solidarity.

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The Tucson Unified School District previously eliminated Mexican-American Studies courses after state officials ruled that the courses' content violated a law against curriculum that engendered racial or ethnic disharmony.

The law used to shut down the classes is known as its bill number, HB 2281.

The constitutionality of the law was challenged by students and teachers from TUSD who asked a federal judge to strike it down for violation of free speech. Their request was denied in a court document filed late Friday.

"This is a victory for ensuring that public education is not held captive to radical, political elements and that students treat each other as individuals - not on the basis of the race they were born into,” Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said in a written statement.

Horne wrote the law when he was the Arizona School Superintendent.

An independent administrative law judge found the Mexican American Studies classes at TUSD presented material in a "biased, political, and emotionally charged manner" and teaching in such a manner "promotes racial resentment."