Tucson Unified School District Superintendent Dr. John Pedicone told KGUN Channel 9 that he called on the Board President and Governing Board to “hold off” on taking action on the embattled Ethnic Studies program that has been receiving national attention. The vote was slated to take place Tuesday night.
Pedicone said he’s especially concerned about students’ safety because of a threat made in a video that was posted on YouTube over the weekend. “It’s deplorable,” Pedicone told KGUN. “I mean those are the kinds of things that take place when extreme views enter the conversation.”
The YouTube video carries lyrics with images that suggest the only way to stop the students from protesting and taking over the meeting as they did last Tuesday, is to “shoot them in the head.” KGUN sent an email to the video’s producer Monday night. The person would only identify himself as Kevin denies his video is meant to trigger violence.
Responding by email, Kevin stated,”I made the video because it went along with the beat of a song I was listening to… again this video was and is not intended to cause or condone violence against anyone, specially children.”
But Pedicone decided not to take any chances, and I don’t blame him. I am sure there is a correct way to handle this type of situation if someone is in favor or not in favor of a particular school program.
However, we do have free speech in our country, and Kevin has the right to express himself. Still, Pedicone has the right to cancel a board meeting based on a YouTube video. “The last thing I want to do is see that kind of thing played out in this board meeting,” said Pedicone. “And certainly I don’t want to be responsible for the community feeling as though we would encourage any of that.”