State Sen. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, today claimed that a Yuma teacher he had confronted had repeatedly “humiliated and bullied” his grandson, who has a medical disability, prompting him to storm the school in search of answers and a resolution.
Shooter is currently being investigated over the incident for possible assault and other charges.
In a statement to the Yuma Police and released to the media, Shooter said he wanted to raise questions about his grandson, whom the senator said “was being harassed and bullied repeatedly.”
When previous attempts to resolve the matter with the school failed, Shooter said he went to the school to “seek answers.”
“Even though the school is aware of (my grandson’s) medical disability, his teacher has repeatedly bullied and humiliated him in front of the class,” Shooter said.
The senator burst into a classroom at the EOC Charter High School in Yuma on March 22 and confronted Danielle Munoz, who was holding class, according to a police report. Witnesses told police that Shooter spoke to the teacher in “visibly angry manner,” raised his voice and got within an arm’s length, the report said.
Munoz later told police that “she was afraid for her safety and the safety of her students,” the report said.
“Questions have been raised about the manner in which I approached (my grandson’s) teacher. I acknowledge I should have been more patient and waited for an appointment with the teacher and the principal,” Shooter said in the statement.
“As a father and a grandparent, I wanted to understand why a hostile environment existed at the school as experienced by my grandson,” Shooter said.
Shooter’s statement comes a day after a cell-phone video, obtained by the Arizona Capitol Times following a public records request, showed the senator inside the classroom while faculty shouted “call 9-1-1” and Munoz asked him to leave.
Shooter said on March 20, his grandson cried and told another relative that his teacher continued to call him and another student “retarded.”
On the same day, the teacher refused to let his grandson go to the bathroom, even when the school knew he had a medical condition and having difficulty controlling his bladder, Shooter said.
The relative who picked up his grandson from the school talked to the principal about the situation, but Shooter said the two students were “subjected to more of the same” the following day.
On March 22, he went to the school but was told the principal was out and the teacher was unavailable.
That’s when he walked past the receptionist to speak with or schedule a meeting with the teacher, explaining he felt compelled to resolve the matter urgently.
Once in the classroom, Shooter said he told the teacher, “I am not leaving until someone addresses these issues with me.”
A call to the Yuma Police Department was not immediately returned.
EOC Charter High School is a continuation school for students ages 16 to 21 with career-focused training and abbreviated coursework to help students get their GED or high school diploma.