Glendale Sub's Class was Urged to "Thank" Lawmaker in Lesson Plan, as Sub Claimed

Categories: School Daze

glendale sub art 1.jpg

​The lesson plan for the class taught by Glendale substitute teacher Tony Hill urges eighth-grade students to "thank" a Democratic lawmaker, as Hill claimed.


And the kids really were reading Mark Twain.

"The letters to (state Senator Steve Gallardo) are to thank him or ask him to change his views on the recent immigration laws," the plan for the March 8 class at Harold W. Smith Elementary School states. (See the plan below.)

Hold on, now -- it's not that we want to defend Hill, whose now-infamous, bigoted letter to state Senator Russell Pearce has caused another racially charged dust-up that Arizona didn't need, and whose troubled family life was exposed yesterday by our own Paul Rubin. Hill refers to his "Hispanic" wife and children in his letter to Pearce: Court records say he choked his wife "at one point" and "physically abused the family pet in front of the children."

The question remains, though: Did Hill lie about his classroom experience?

As we wrote last week, the district already acknowledged to New Times that the class became a tad rowdy. An exit report filled out by Hill after his day in class mentioned that students "refused directions" and "refused to act proper (sic)."

Hill's letter, (published on azcentral), states, in part, that:

The teacher's instructions were for the students to read a few pages and answer the questions regarding Mark Twain in their history textbook and to finish their final drafts to Senator Steve Gallardo thanking him for his position on Illegal Immigration rights. Their teacher apparently had showed them a video with Senator Steve Gallardo and Lou Dobbs. Most of the students came unprepared for class not possessing paper and pencil. I provided the students with paper and pencils only to have them wade-up the paper and throw it at each other along with their pencils.

The students' final drafts that I read were basically the same. Most of them stated they were in the country illegally, White Americans are racist, and that they came here for a better life.

The subs all but been called a liar by the school district for which he once worked. A statement released by the Glendale Elementary School District last week says, "The District ... does not believe that Mr. Hill's email accurately reflects the conduct of the students and staff of Harold W. Smith Elementary School."

Concerning the students' classwork, district officials stated that the "goal of the assignment was to use reason to write a letter that used reason to convince [Gallardo] to change his opinion, or that used reason to support his position."

As mentioned, the lesson plan puts it differently. Hill didn't make up the part about students thanking the Democrat or the part about Twain.

The plan also shows that the teens and tweens had been reading "Roughing It" by Mark Twain and, in an unexpected bit of hipness, a quirky tale by David Sedaris called "Us and Them."

Though the lesson plan suggests that the letters would be sent to Gallardo, the school district's spokesman, Jim Cummings, says he wasn't sure about that. In any case, as we've mentioned previously, the district refuses to comment -- even generally -- about the contents of the students' thank-you letters (or persuasive essays) to Gallardo.

Cummings hit us again with a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about federal law. He says the district is prohibited from releasing any info about the essays, and he's working on getting us the exact statutes. We're not asking for the students' names -- we just want to know how much of Hill's letter was fact and how much was bullshit.

The students have been interviewed by school officials, and they deny the arguably anti-American statements Hill attributed to them. But the Glendale district's statement avoids the issue of the content of the essays. They're hiding something.

Hill's been right about some things -- we'll take a wild guess and say that some, though not "most," of the essays do say what Hill says they did.

Lesson Plans

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Jolly Good
Jolly Good

Gee Ray, it seems to me that you're as full of shit as the substitute. The lesson plan is an either or. Both you and he left that part out. How come?

Native Guns
Native Guns

The Sub-Teacher, whose troubled family history is wholly disturbing. Is merely using his wife and kids, who appeared to be of Hispanic origin, as a font to shroud his hatred of Hispanics in general.He obviously hates his wife, as she is Hispanic. This is probably why he was abusing and beating her up like a punching bag. And torturing the family pet in front of the kids.

Paul, as I said previously, perhaps you should get the side of his "estranged wife's" version. I have no doubts that in private life, Hill may have shouted racist epithets at his wife and kids during his uncontrolable domestic assaults. There may be extra juicy details about Hill, that we Americans may not know. That may be relevant to his extremist ideals. Heck, he may have racist White Supremacist literature in his possessions, but who knows?

He's a hypocritical in-closet racist.


Since Mr. Stern is doing some serious speculating in his investigation of the Great Glendale Eighth Grade Insurrection I shall also engage in some speculation. Is Tony Hill a right-wing extremist of the same mindset as RuSSell Pearce? Is he an extreme right-wing Cleon Skousens-following Mormon? (he has eight kids) Did he find the mention of Twain's "Roughing It", with its attacks on the Book of Mormon and Brigham Young, to be more than he could bear? Did he decide to bait the kids? Does the fact that he chose to take his complaint to RuSSell Pearce instead of to school district officials mean that he was more interested making political capital than he was in fixing a problem?

Just some wild speculation.

Pit Boss
Pit Boss

Why would a substitute teacher ask a group of mostly hispanic students to "thank" a politician for his stance on illegal immigration? Isn't that kind of assuming they're illegals to begin with?

A less presumptuous assignment would ask the students to write a letter to Gallardo to either show support or criticize his views on the subject.


Your guess is indeed wild, as was your speculative comment earlier this week about what the Glendale eighth graders wrote and connecting it with what TUSD students are doing in their ethnic studies program. I would suggest that you contact the lawyer (it should be a county attorney) for the school district - not a media flack - and ask them for an explanation of district policy (and supporting legal citations) concerning student work and privacy. That will give you a stronger foundation for determining whether or not the district is stonewalling you or is actually following state and federal guidelines regarding student privacy.

YOU believe they are hiding something - and perhaps they are. The first instinct of any governmental entity is to circle the wagons when under attack or scrutiny. But there is plenty of reason to believe that Hill is an unbalanced person having no business in a classroom, and no reason to believe that 1.) the Glendale school district or its individual teachers are inculcating students with a "hate America" theme, or 2.) that Glendale's Hispanic students are largely illegal, or that they hate America. That is absolute nonsense and if you believe it you need to stop drinking RuSSell Pearce's Kool-aid.


I taught high school social studies for 33 years until 2009. After reviewing the teacher's lesson plan, I conclude that there is nothing wrong with it because she/he allowed the students to take a position either for, or against, the senator's position on the issue. She did not tell them which position to take. That would have been inappropriate. The teacher could have had the students choose their own legislator to petition, but there would have been problems in that case. Many students would not know who their legislators are, or what their positions were on the issue. Lesson plans should have a narrow focus. The teacher also had to consider time limits, so she chose a legislator, supplied the students with material concerning his position, and instructed them to either support or oppose it. In social studies classes when students write to a public official, whether they support/oppose his/her position on an issue, they are often instructed to thank the official for reading/receiving/considering their position regarding the issue as a sign of respect/courtesy. This lesson plan is intended to promote critical thinking skills, encourage students' interest in current events, and teach students about their First Amendment right to petition the government.

Ray Stern
Ray Stern

Jollynonymous -- You needed to have read all the way to the third sentence to understand that I didn't leave that part out. Also, did you notice I published the actual lesson plan?


Your argument is perfect example of " the end justifies the means." The teacher had no business using the broad strokes of generalization when describing the events that occurred in his classroom that day. It brings discreditto his argument. Your hyperbolic statement that" there is plenty of reason to believe that Hill is an unbalanced person having no business in the classroom" discredits your argument. Attacking the source embraces fallacios reasoning.


I taught middle school social studies (civics) in Nogales. I never had a kid refuse to say the pledge (although I don't say it and explained why to my students) except for a Jehovah's Witness. Never had a kid say he or she hated the United States. A whole bunch of them enlisted in the armed services when they were older. I don't know if any were illegal - not many if any because it's hard to keep secrets in a border town (chisme). One of them had an uncle who was a Navy carrier pilot, MIA during the Vietnam War. Mexican Americans are very patriotic. The Mexican immigrants that I know, and I have known a lot during my many years on the border - are very grateful to be here and pass that gratitude on to their children and grandchildren. What was read on the senate floor was racist, paranoid, white-supremacist-nativist right-wing bullshit, written by a sick man and devoured by gullible, ignorant elected officials who were very eager to believe his silly shit and should have known better than to do so.

This, Oliver Cromwell's speech to the Long Parliament, suits our state legislature quite well...

"It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you?

Is there one vice you do not possess?

Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes?

Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone!

So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!"


I flatly disagree. My statement was not hyperbolic. Evidently you have not been reading this website regarding the statements made in family court regarding Tony Hill's behavior towards his family and his dog. This is the behavior of a person with serious mental health problems.

Were you trying to say fallacious?

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