NAMPA — Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's vehicle was vandalized overnight at his Nampa home and he and his family have received threats, he told police.
“Yes, he has made us aware of threats to him and family members and we are looking into those, and we are aware of those, and we are doing what we can to provide protection,” Nampa Police Deputy Chief Craig Kingsbury said.
On Saturday night, a man who identified himself as a teacher reportedly showed up at Luna's mother's home in Nampa in order to speak with her about the superintendent's contentious education reform plan. Luna happened to be at his mother's house at the time, Department of Education spokeswoman Melissa McGrath said.
“The man was very angry... the superintendent did feel threatened,” she said. The man eventually left after Luna spoke to him for several minutes. Luna told the man it was an inappropriate place and time, and later filed a police report, McGrath said.
Officers were dispatched to Luna's house at 4:36 a.m. Tuesday and found evidence that suggests his pickup truck was vandalized sometime during the nighttime hours. Two tires were flattened and the word “Luna” was spray painted in black on the passenger side of the vehicle and then crossed out.
“It's become clear that the rhetoric that has been out there in opposition to this plan has escalated. People's attitude and people's behavior over the weekend and this morning is unacceptable. We encourage people to discuss this plan and let their opinions be known, but in a civic way,” McGrath said.
Idaho Education Association President Sherri Wood condemned the actions, saying that although the association may not agree with Luna's plan, it does not condone vandalism or threats.
“Twice in the past week, the Idaho Education Association has urged members to act with civility and professionalism in their contacts with policymakers over Superintendent Tom Luna's proposed legislation,” Wood said.
Wood also called on Luna to reciprocate civil behavior.
“Yesterday, according to news reports, he accused the IEA of 'union thuggery' and of sending emails listing officials' home addresses and phone numbers,” Wood said Tuesday morning in a press release in response to the incidents. “The IEA has not sent any such e-mails. The IEA has been involved in contentious battles thorughout our nearly 120-year history. We do not resort to violence or harassment to solve problems.”
- The police investigation is continuing. Anyone with information regarding the vandalism is asked to call Nampa Police Dispatch at 465-2257 or Crimestoppers at 343-COPS (2677).