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6:08 AM Tue, Dec. 11th

Humboldt school district bans Rep. Stringer from all its campuses

Letter states, ‘incredibly insensitive’ remarks indicate Stringer’s ‘blatant racism’

Rep. David Stringer earlier this year at the state Capitol. (Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services/file photo)

Rep. David Stringer earlier this year at the state Capitol. (Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services/file photo)

A standard of excellence set by faculty and staff of the Humboldt Unified School District in Prescott Valley includes critical core values that do not tolerate the “blatant racism” expressed by Rep. David Stringer in recent remarks made Nov. 19 to Arizona State University students.

And so, the district will no longer tolerate Stringer’s presence on any of its 10 school campuses.

A letter from HUSD Superintendent Dan Streeter and HUSD Governing Board President Richard Adler to all faculty, staff and administrators went out Wednesday, Dec. 5. It stated the district’s disappointment with Stringer’s most recent comments, and letting them know the Arizona representative is not welcome at any school site and will not be allowed to participate in any school-related functions.

The strongly worded letter set forth the district’s core values as “an unwavering belief in all of our students, high expectations and high levels of support for all, and that all of our actions are based on what’s best for students,” which, apparently, are not reflected by Stringer based on his recent comments.

The letter states, “Mr. Stringer has demonstrated a pattern of unacceptable public comments that confirm that he is unable to meet the minimum expectations that our administrators, board members, teachers, support staff, and families have set for participants in our educational community. Viewed in the best light, these comments can be understood as incredibly insensitive, but a plain reading reveals blatant racism.”

Streeter said Thursday, Dec. 6, by email that it is common for guests and elected officials to visit campuses for tours and forums. “In fact, we just had our ecumenical council at Glassford Hill Middle School today for a school tour,” he said.

He acknowledged the district has not contacted Stringer regarding the letter. Whether Stringer is aware of the exclusion, and were he to visit a school site anyway, may or may not constitute trespassing.

Deputy Chief James Edelstein of the Prescott Valley Police Department said the district has not contacted the department, nor has he seen the letter.

“Whether or not a letter would be sufficient notice for us to arrest someone for trespassing would depend upon the content of the letter, whether the letter was received by the intended recipient, and whether the recipient or a reasonable person would understand the letter as a trespass warning,” Edelstein stated Thursday.

Streeter’s letter also indicated the district’s “positive working relationship” will continue with Rep. Noel Campbell and Sen. Karen Fann.

Fann, on Wednesday, said she joined Gov. Doug Ducey, the Republican Party chair, and her colleagues at the state and local level in calling for Stringer’s immediate resignation.

Campbell, during an interview with Capital Media reporter Howard Fischer, also on Wednesday, called the situation “sad.”

“His comments were hurtful. What else can you say? They stand on their face value,” Campbell said. “As to whether he should resign or not, that's up to him.”

JoAnne Chaffeur, a Prescott public education advocate, said a parent gave her a copy of the letter. “By them taking the stance doesn’t mean anything – except that it does. They can’t make him change his ways, but it’s our statement that he doesn’t represent us as a community.”

Repeated requests for comments from Stringer have gone unanswered.

The school district’s letter concludes, “It is terribly disappointing and disheartening for us in the Humboldt Unified School District that someone with such an out-of-touch perspective on reality is a part of any decision-making process that will have an impact on all of our students.”

Follow Sue Tone on Twitter @ToneNotes. Reach her at stone@prescottaz.com or 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.

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