(Photo: Wiki Commons/Santa Cruz Public Library)
In what critics are sure to call yet another example of indoctrination in the public school system, California officials not only named an elementary school after a revolutionary Mexican-American murderer -- they are staunchly defending the decision.
Tiburcio Vasquez was a notorious California bandit who lived in the late 19th century, according to the USC library, who started his career in crime at the young age of 14 when he stabbed a constable at a party. From there, he spent decades robbing, murdering, and likely having at least one affair with a married woman.
Before he was hanged for his crimes in 1875, Vasquez issued a statement claiming discrimination of Mexican-Americans:
"A spirit of hatred and revenge took possession of me. I had numerous fights in defense of what I believed to be my rights and those of my countrymen. I believed we were unjustly deprived of the social rights that belonged to us."
And that has everything to do with why he is a hero for the Alisal Union School District in Salinas, California.
FoxNews.com has more:
Superintendent John Ramirez defended the board’s decision telling Fox News that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.
“Tiburcio Vasquez, along with others, was an individual who was a revolutionary,” Ramierz said. “He was not okay with the oppression.”
“He took from the rich and gave to the poor,” Francisco Estrada told KION. “He was your inspiration of Zorro.”
Estrada sat on the naming committee for the new elementary school and said the convicted murderer was a good man who should be a model to the youth of East Salinas.
He said Vasquez was simply misunderstood.
“Mr. Vasquez, number one, was not a murderer,” he told the television station. “He was framed by the system at that time.”
“The history was written by mainstream whites,” he said. “It wasn’t written by Californians or people of Mexican descent. When do we have our history written by us? When do we stop having our heroes branded as villains?”
Ramirez told Fox News that Vasquez is a role model to Mexican-Americans.
“When you have individuals who have been struggling for so long, dealing with oppression and systematic oppression, then you bring up leaders who have fought against resistance, of course they are going to be role models to you,” he told Fox News. “Vasquez is an individual who did that prior to us — who can be sort of a hero to us.” [Emphasis added]
But not everyone is happy with the morally relativistic argument.
“I don’t like the idea of naming the school after a criminal,” councilman Steve McShane told The Californian, Fox News relates. “There’s a big difference between naming a school after people in our history who have shown leadership and courage – and those disrespectful of common laws and decency.”
When the city's incoming mayor suggested naming the school after another figure from Mexican-American history -- one who wasn't a convicted murderer-- Ramirez lashed out.
“He needs to learn history,” Ramirez retorted. “He should not be making comments based on what he finds on Google.”
In Ramirez's opinion, honoring Vasquez is no different than honoring Thomas Jefferson, because Jefferson had slaves.
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