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Arizona Representative David Stringer
Arizona Representative David Stringer
Courtesy of David Stringer

David Stringer Mocked 'Diversity' After Asian Student Won Scholarship, Report Says

In addition to newly revealed details of David Stringer's past sex crimes, the report released by the Arizona House Ethics Committee on Friday also describes previously unreported racist remarks by the ex-lawmaker.

Clark Tenney, Prescott High School assistant principal, sent an email to the Arizona Legislature in February describing how he was "shocked and saddened" in 2016 when Stringer disrespected the idea of diversity in public education, and mocked a Vietnamese American student's scholarship award.

Tenney is a respected educator who has also served as principal at Prescott's Abia Judd Elementary. He wrote that he was relaying the story at this time because of Stringer's "unfortunate pattern of racist comments during his time in Prescott."

Tenney is currently in Finland on a Fulbright Foundation scholarship. He previously worked for 12 years in Japan teaching Japanese to American students, according to a recent article in the Daily Courier.

"As a long-time Republican voter from Prescott, Mr. Stringer's public comments denigrating ethnic minorities is of particular concern to me," Tenney wrote to lawmakers last month.

Tenney said he was at a local forum at the Las Fuentes retirement village one night in spring 2016 when Stringer approached him and struck up a conversation.

"He asserted that an ethnically diverse student body is negative for school achievement and for school discipline," Tenney wrote. "I shared my experience that the opposite is true in our school. ... I let Mr. Stringer know that diversity is definitely a strength in our public school."

The very next evening, both Tenney and Stringer were at an awards banquet for Prescott Area Leadership. Tenney's son, Nathan, had been named a finalist for a Youth Leader scholarship, and Stringer — who knew Nathan — "expressed that Nathan was a strong candidate" for the award.

But another boy won the scholarship: Brandon Nguyen, "one of the top students" at Prescott High School. Nguyen was captain of the tennis team, a leader in the National Honors Society, a concert pianist, and very involved in community leadership, Tenney explained.

"I was in no way disappointed that Brandon had won, and our son had earned runner-up," Tenney told lawmakers in his email.

"As folks were filtering out of the room to head home, Mr. Stringer found me by myself, stopped me, and said in an obviously sarcastic tone of voice, "There's diversity for you."

As Stringer walked away before Tenney could respond, the educator recalled being "shocked and saddened that Mr. Stringer apparently thought:

"1) That Brandon won the award only because of his Vietnamese heritage, and not because he deserved it on his merits,

"2) My son (who is of European heritage) lost because his primary competition happened to be an ethnic minority.

"3) That by pointing this out to me, I would perhaps be upset enough to change my mind about 'diversity,'" Tenney wrote.

"Having had a number of interactions with Mr. Stringer where he has insinuated that non-white people are a drain on society, I am pleased that light is being shined on this, and that people are finally questioning if this is the type of person who should be representing the people LD1."

Stringer, who resigned this week, was facing an ethics investigation at the time over the sex crime charges and racist comments he made in 2018, including a comment to Arizona State University students that black people "don't blend in," and a remark to Yavapai County Republicans that there aren't "enough white kids to go around" in Arizona public schools.

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