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Updated Mar 29, 2013 - 11:17 am

Arizona legislator threatens grandson’s teacher

PHOENIX — An Arizona school is considering hiring armed guards after a
state senator barged into a classroom and verbally threatened a teacher over a
dispute involving his teenage grandson.

Yuma Police were investigating Republican Sen. Don Shooter for marching into
the public high school for troubled teenagers after being denied entry.

Students, teachers and administrators were alarmed when a visibly agitated
Shooter slipped past a receptionist, who had told him he couldn’t enter the
school, said John Morales, executive director of the nonprofit Yuma Private
Industry Council, which oversees the EOC Charter High School. Morales said
school officials will meet next month to discuss hiring armed guards to prevent
future unwanted visitors.

Shooter has called the school and apologized, Morales said.

“With the environment around schools, especially with what happened in
Connecticut, it’s alarming,” said Morales, referring to the mass shootings at a
Connecticut elementary school in December.

Shooter, a tea party leader who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee,
could not be reached for comment. He is being investigated on potential charges
of assault, trespassing and disruption of an educational institution, according
to a police report published by the Arizona Capitol Times.

The incident began shortly after classes started on March 22. Shooter demanded
to see his grandson’s teacher, but the school receptionist told him he needed an
appointment because the educator was busy teaching. When the receptionist turned
her attention to answer a phone call, Shooter walked past her and entered the
teacher’s classroom.

“Our registrar is a tiny little gal and she went after him saying, ‘You can’t
go in there! You can’t go in there!’ ” Morales said. “He confronted the
teacher. There were some tense moments there for a while.”

Shooter berated the teacher for several minutes and waved his finger in her
face before a guidance counselor was able to talk him into leaving the class.

Shooter informed the classroom that “he was a state senator and very
influential man in Yuma and in the state,” according to the police report. At
least one student stood up and asked Shooter to leave.

After meeting with the guidance counselor, Shooter walked out of the school,
Morales said.

“There were no obscenities,” Morales said. “He was fairly agitated and angry
about something.”

After Shooter’s departure, school officials called the police. The alternative
school located in a small office complex has about 100 students and no security

Morales said he had not been aware that a student at the school had ties to the
Arizona Legislature before the incident. Morales said Shooter had not previously
visited the school.

The school had been trying to arrange a meeting with the boy’s parents to
discuss his education when Shooter showed up. After the classroom confrontation,
school officials tried to arrange a meeting with Shooter, the boy’s parents and
the principal, but Shooter and the boy’s parents declined. Morales said the
boy’s parents have indicated they will remove him from the school.

Morales said he did not know what specific issue had prompted the incident or
why the boy’s family was upset prior to Shooter’s visit to the school.

The student body is comprised of teenage parents and other at-risk students who
need special instruction, Morales said.


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