I chose my profession late in life after raising six children. While attending college as an adult, I decided that teaching was my passion and that I desired to make a difference in Arizona classrooms. I was living my dream in my chosen profession and desired greatly to return home, to the place of 4 generations of my ancestors. I became the Bilingual (BLE) English Language Learner (ELL) Coordinator for the school district in Florence, AZ where I went to high school. I was living out my dream, for I was a blonde, Anglo, Bilingual in Spanish, an Arizona native with a Masters in ESL tasked with training teachers, organizing a struggling ELL program and paving a new road for our ELL students and parents in Florence, AZ.
While performing my duties as required by the state and federal government, the reality of politics and racial discrimination and what presently ails our counties and state came calling at my district office doorsteps. The Administration, and more especially my immediate Supervisor in charge of the Florence Unified School District #1 (FUSD1) ELL Program was refusing to properly and legally service our ELL populations while their parents spoke Limited English. It was very stunning to me as an Arizona native, for I grew up with Spanish speakers who quickly assimilated into school in the 1960’s in a total immersion program and learned to speak Spanish myself.
I had a choice of either following my supervisor’s directives and violate Federal educational laws OR I could STAND UP and defend the Civil Rights of my ELL students & parents. My health was beginning to deteriorate due to all of the stress from my supervisor and actions being taken against me for wanting to do what was right and comply with federal laws.
I chose to STAND UP and do the RIGHT THING knowing there is always a price to pay.
I was introduced to Silverio Garcia by one of my mentors in federal projects. Mr. Garcia traveled to Pinal County to hear and listen to all my issues and those of my ELL students/Limited English Proficient (LEP) parents.
Silverio performed his own discreet sixty (60) day investigation and when he was done he wrote a 1,770 page Federal Discriminatory Complaint with the US Dept. of Education (USDOE), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) vs the Florence USD1 in 2006. By April 2007, FUSD1 had signed a massive Federal Resolution Agreement with the US DOE OCR Office with recommendations and structured monitoring to end the racial discrimination inside the FUSD1.
Along the way, Silverio Garcia observed how the FUSD1 retaliated against me, so he wrote another massive Complaint vs FUSD1 demonstrating how I had been retaliated against and abused for exercising my rights as a Whistleblower. Once again, the USDOE OCR ruled in my favor and found FUSD1 guilty of retaliation and the district was ordered to pay compensation, reinstate me and directed to develop district policies and procedures so that future employees would be protected. My immediate supervisor resigned and headed west to the Dysart School District.
I left FUSD1 heartbroken as I wanted to stay in my “hometown” to continue to make a difference until my retirement. My intentions in telling my civil rights story while in Florence are to inform the public who Silverio Garcia is and how culturally-diverse and community-oriented he is and about his advocacy for ALL people.
Please support Silverio Garcia and JUSTICE FOR ALL, LLC. And donate to his present and future Arizona civil rights endeavors. Silverio Garcia does not see the “color of skin” as a barrier….he is experienced in diverse areas and above all, he knows and understands the laws in four (4) levels of Government…..city, county, state and especially federal laws !
Silverio Garcia plans to continue his Arizona and Maricopa County civil rights mission, and hopes in the future to assist in other states where needed.
PLEASE DONATE to Silverio Garcia and his Justice For All, LLC !
God Bless America and Silverio Garcia as we continue to struggle for the Civil Rights for ALL.
– Linda R. Reid – Arizona BLE Teacher