One California community is ready to take action after a complacent school board has for years enforced policies counter to the law and counter to the wishes of the majority of area residents.
After recent board non-action, a citizen lead effort has been organized to replace the entire sitting board during the November 2022 mid-term election.
“By the end of this month, the committee intends to serve three sitting Los Alamitos Unified School Board notices of intent to recall during the 2022 election,” said committee spokesman Robert Aguilar Jr. “The other two trustees are also up for election at the same time.“
“The recall would effectively place all five members of the board in a battle to keep their seats.”
The committee plans to formally launch the effort at the next school board meeting, where the group committee intends to serve notice to each member in person.
The meeting is currently scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 28, at the Los Alamitos Board of Education Meeting Hall, 10293 Bloomfield St., Los Alamitos, but Aguilar said in the past when confronted the board has a history of canceling meetings.
“It’s one of many reasons they are no longer fit to hold their positions,” he said. “We need trustees who do the job for which they were elected.”
The public is encouraged to attend, and masks are encouraged.
“Wear the mask, if only to prevent district officials using it as an excuse to block entry,” Aguilar said.
Board Trustees Chris Forehan, Scott Fayette and Megan Cutuli will be served notice during the meeting.
The group said it was inevitable, but it is not a political endeavor, rather a bipartisan effort to protect community children.
“There are parents on both sides of the political aisle who are in tears over the way our children are being treated,” Aguilar said. “This is not about politics anymore. The board has conservative members. We live in a conservative community. It’s all about protecting our children now.”
Cutuli, he said, is a perfect example. She has been on the board since 2000, used to be a registered Republican, and has often taken the conservative side on controversial issues.
But even with that conservative track record, parents are concerned.
“Our family has been friends with Meg (Cutuli) for years,” a parent shared with the group anonymously. “She is a neighbor and has always had our support. But it’s come down to choosing between our friendships and the well-being of our kids.”
While the notices have not yet been served, opposition efforts have begun, but Aguilar said the effort is being led by blind partisanship rather than the children’s best interest.
“While I may not agree with all the board’s decisions, personally, this recall is an extremely partisan attempt… and I am extremely confident it will fail,” said Steve Miller, real estate agent and outspoken supporter of Black Lives Matter, in a recent interview with the independent newsletter, Spotlight Schools.
Miller is no stranger to the district.
In 2018 his call and interview with the Orange County Register first exposed an allegedly hateful Facebook post by now-retired district Elementary School Principal Roni Burns-Ellis.
At the time, Miller said, when he learned about the principal’s post, he walked straight to the school to confront her face-to-face.
“I was outraged,” he said. “She wasn’t there, which is probably good because I would have said the wrong things.”
It was this sole incident that is believed to have influenced the decision from the school district to introduce discussions on racial equity and critical race theory.
But many others see the recall effort as an opportunity to align the board more closely to the community’s interests.
“A recall election provides parents with an opportunity to be heard when the elected officials otherwise are unresponsive to the community that put them in office,” said Jeffrey Barke, former Trustee of the Los Alamitos Board of Education. “I fully support the recall effort. I am very disappointed in my former colleagues who again and again fail to represent their community and hide behind the veil of Covid mandates and staff misinformation.”
Barke is a physician and served as a board trustee for 12 years.
He said much of the information being used to make policy is based on poltics, not science.
“The CDC’s data shows that children less than 18, that’s K-12, have a survival rate of COVID-19 of 99.997 percent,” Barke said. “Young children have a greater risk of death with seasonal Influenza, yet we have never mandated flu shorts or masks during flu season.”
But the pandemic is only a part of the concerns being expressed openly throughout the community.
“As a parent of six children in the district, I am appalled at what is being taught to our kids,” said Aimee Sugar, a parent with children at multiple schools in the district. “The district is allowing teachers to indoctrinate minor children with their political, spiritual and sexual agendas, with materials in the classrooms and on their social media. Teachers are grooming our children with mind games and it has got to stop.”
“Parents of students, we need to step up and get involved,” said Staci Muller, a mother of two who recently pulled her students from the district.
“I’m supporting the recall and am considering running myself.”
Aguilar said the district acknowledged that more than 300 other families have pulled their kids from school in opposition to mandates and questionable curriculum.
Core to the recall effort are in total four main complaints with the current board, Aguilar said.
“First, the board is threatening our children’s mental and physical health by enforcing unsubstantiated and illegal mandates,” he said.
“Second, the board is endorsing the indoctrination of our children with political, racist and sex-based agendas. And by the way, the political indoctrination is on both sides of the spectrum.
“The board is also stifling the constitutional rights of it constituents by ignoring California’s Brown Act and basic due process.
“Finally, the board has stopped acting on behalf of our kids and families and have chosen to sit on their hands. They need to be replaced with leaders who will do the jobs for which they were elected.”
One of the more notable events leading to the recall effort occurred in recent days when it was discovered that teachers in one middle school had stepped outside the approved curriculum to teach doctrines in Critical Race Theory and racial equity.
The unauthorized incidents grabbed national attention when one teacher asked her Seventh-grade students to read and comments on a Huffington Post op-ed piece titled Why I’m a Racist.
The district denied implementing Critical Race Theory but recently approved an advanced placement course in the high school that explores the concept.
The lessons include teaching students how the dominance of western European white male culture and how Christianity was being used as a tool to control and oppress minorities.
Another incident ignored by the board, the committee said, occurred when a teacher recently sparked discomfort and outrage after he asked his minor aged students to declare their sexual identity and to share if they had questions regarding their sexual preferences.
Aguilar said the committee obtained a PowerPoint presentation that was sent to minor students between Sixth and Eight grades celebrating “Pride Week” including information regarding the history of the LGBTQ agenda and featuring celebrities who have publicly declared their sexuality.
A survey was included that asked children if they wanted to remain anonymous with their answers or share them publicly.
The survey was sent without consulting with parents or obtaining authority to do so.
Aguilar said that the power-point and other documents would be made available on the Committee website after Sept. 28.
An overwhelming number of parents have also expressed concern regarding the continued restrictions and mask mandates being implemented on their kids.
“In Orange County, California, where the schools are located have long since lifted most mandates, allowing vaccinated individuals to enter buildings without a mask, the schools in the same county are being forced to remain masked while indoors even if vaccinated,” Aguilar said. “The Board of Education continues to brush off complaints and refer parents to state entities for answers on the mandates, sparking more discontent for their inaction as an elected body.
“California has remained in a constant State of Emergency since March 2020. State Governance Code Section 8627.5(b) declares that a State of Emergency can only be implemented for no more than 60 days without discussion and vote from the elected legislators in Sacramento.
“To date, no discussion or vote has taken place and the constituents of the school district are now questioning the legality of the mandates being enforced by the school board.
“It’s a simple violation of our constitutional rights. Our children and parents are being subjected to illegal mandates that are being pushed by state entities and California teachers’ unions.
“So, if our board members are unable to stand up for what is right, they will be replaced, and so will administrators in the district.”
For more information about the recall effort visit www.losalrecall.com.