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By Shawn Raymundo

The student-led group CUSD Against Racism is calling on the Capistrano Unified School District to investigate whether a fourth-grade school teacher in San Clemente had any involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Vista Del Mar Elementary School teacher Kristine Hostetter, wife of known right-wing activist Alan Hostetter, has come under scrutiny after posts to social media showed her attending the march in Washington, D.C., in protest of election results and Congress certifying President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

The demonstration, which attracted thousands of former President Trump’s supporters who have disputed his election loss with unproven allegations of widespread voter fraud, turned violent when rioters stormed the Capitol building, resulting in five deaths including two Capitol Police officers.

Screenshots of Alan’s social media posts that have been circulated among the community only show that the local elementary school teacher participated in the rally, and not in the riot.

Alan, who founded the American Phoenix Project—a group whose stated mission is “standing guard against enemies of the Constitution in its original form”—has been a staunch opponent of stay-at-home orders and led protests and mask-burning rallies in San Clemente.

Numerous attempts were made over the past week to reach the Hostetters for comment by phone, email and Facebook messenger, but, as of this posting, have gone unanswered.

CUSD Against Racism, which formed last summer amid the wave of mass protests advocating for racial equality and police reform, has started a petition, asking the local community to join its call for the district to investigate Kristine Hostetter.

Members of the group on Wednesday night, Jan. 20, intend to present and speak about their petition during the CUSD Board of Trustees’ regular meeting. 

“We started this petition after we saw the news that this CUSD teacher had been to the Capitol … We saw people’s outrage, and there were just a lot of reposts saying ‘How can this happen?’ and ‘What is CUSD doing about it?’ just drawing a lot of attention,” group members explained to San Clemente Times last week. “And then we just didn’t see a lot of call to action, so we thought that’s where our petition could come in.”

In an email last week, CUSD spokesperson Ryan Burris said the district’s Human Resource Services Department is looking into the matter, adding that he couldn’t comment any further “as this is a personnel investigation.”

The petition, the group explained, implores the district to look into whether Kristine Hostetter was among those who invaded the Capitol. They’re also asking the district to temporarily remove her from teaching while the investigation is being conducted.

“Following the investigation, if criminal activity is confirmed, Mrs. Hostetter should be removed from the classroom,” the group said in its Instagram post, before also asking the teacher’s union not to file a grievance on behalf of Hostetter if her termination were to occur.

According to the group, they had more than 5,430 people sign the petition as of early last week. The group also said that members have submitted their information regarding the Hostetters to the FBI.

Following the Capitol insurrection, CUSD released a statement from Superintendent Kirsten Vital Brulte condemning last week’s violence, calling the breach a “horrific” event.

“Breaking into the halls of Congress, destroying property, and threatening the safety of our elected representatives, law enforcement and innocent bystanders in an attempt to disrupt a nearly 250-year-old tradition of the orderly transition of presidential power does not constitute peaceful protesting,” she said. “It is not acceptable in a democratic society. It is not what we teach the children in our schools.”

On Instagram, the group points to Alan Hostetter’s own social media posts through his American Phoenix Project account to show Kristine Hostetter marching alongside him. According to the group, a since-deleted video from Alan’s account appears to have been taken from the balcony of the Capitol.

CUSD Against Racism has acknowledged that it’s been “unable to determine if Mrs. Hostetter was also on the balcony with her husband.”

Members of the group said that if the investigation finds she had only marched in the protest and did not engage in criminal activity, then they expect the district to issue another statement explicitly stating it doesn’t condone employees participating in such a movement and to also condemn the “white supremacy that was present.”

The group noted that CUSD Against Racism has refrained from singling out a particular person or teacher within the district. But given the circumstances surrounding the siege of the Capitol, where lawmakers from both chambers and Vice President Pence had gathered for the Constitutionally mandated certification of Electoral College votes, they felt this was an important case for the district to investigate.

“We want to ensure that our students feel safe and comfortable in their classroom,” the group said, touching on the experiences of BIPOC students—those who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color.

The group said it hopes that the investigation would serve as an accountability measure and show that the district is serious about not tolerating such behavior from its staff, thereby preventing “this teacher and other teachers from engaging in this behavior in the future.”

Feature Photo: Courtesy of Ian Hutchinson/Unsplash

SR_1Shawn Raymundo
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for the San Clemente Times. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.

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comments (8)

  • “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Washington Field Office is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying individuals who made unlawful entry into the United States Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

    “Submit a Tip:
    “Anyone with information regarding these individuals, or anyone who witnessed any unlawful violent actions at the Capitol or near the area, is asked to contact the FBI’s Toll-Free Tipline at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) to verbally report tips. You may also submit any information, photos, or videos that could be relevant online at fbi.gov/USCapitol. You may also contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
    Field Office: Washington D.C.”

    https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/seeking-info/violence-at-the-united-states-capitol-3#:~:text=Submit%20a%20Tip%3A,5324)%20to%20verbally%20report%20tips.

  • The members of CUSD Against Racism have a First Amendment right to maintain a web site, circulate petitions, and organize rallies. CUSD teachers have the right to peacefully attend those rallies without fear of being suspended or subjected to threats of investigation by the school district,

    This teacher has that same First Amendment right. It’s sad that CUSD Against Racism and its advisers don’t recognize that.

  • “It’s sad that CUSD Against Racism and its advisers don’t recognize that.”

    Well said.

    It’s also sad that the hyper focus on race results in more, not less racism.

  • The First Ammendment right belongs to all Americans regardless of their politics. But numerous cases have also upheld that free speech does not extend to sedition or overthrow of our government.

    The question then becomes, was Ms. Hostetter engaged in peaceful demonstration to advocate for her political beliefs or did she cross the line and enter the Capitol building?

    Entry into the Capitol, is by any American’s standard, a threat to the Congress, our Government and our liberty.

    Without more information, we must assume that Ms. Hostetter is a patriotic American who would not trespass on our most cherished symbol of democracy.

  • She is well within her right to protest, but we. have to take into account that she went to protest a valid election. She has increasingly been drawn into the alt-right since marrying Alan Hostetter 4 years ago. Her husband is a vocal white supremacist. She and her husband proclaim public ally that COVID is a hoax, and have held public mask burning events. She has every right to her first amendment, but when is enough enough? Hate speech should not be allowed. People like her should not be allowed to teach children. As she becomes more and more indoctrinated into the alt-right and QAnon nonsense- how can we assure that all our children will be treated equally? The Trump administration has gone out of its way to shame people of color. Rewriting history to sympathize with slave holders (referto the 1776 docs), condoning science, and treating black americans as enemies for protesting for basic human rights. No, she is not fit to teach. She can go to a private conservative christian school in the area if she would like.

  • The 2016 Presidential election was valid but that didn’t stop leftists from protesting THAT valid election during the entire administration of President Trump. Leftists are gargantuan hypocrites!

    “She has increasingly been drawn into the alt-right…”

    What is your evidence for this? Please define “alt-right”.

    “Her husband is a vocal white supremacist.”

    What is YOUR evidence for this? Are YOU, christina Mir, a pedophile, or a racist, or a communist? You see, it’s easy to cast aspersions without any evidence and I have none that you are any of those things. Do you have any to back up your personal attacks on the Hostetters?
    BTW, I don’t know the Hostetters at all, do you?

    “…but when is enough enough?”

    Great question. Did you ever ask that of the thousands who took part in the burning and looting of American cities? The destruction of numerous statues and monuments and the assaults against law abiding citizens as well as law enforcement? Did you ever question whether those who took part in these leftist riots should be allowed to teach in our schools? Again, leftists are Godzilla-sized hypocrites.

    “Hate speech should not be allowed.”

    The 1st Amendment disagrees with you. In addition, it is the leftists who engage in “hate speech” and they do it all the time against conservatives. Leftists even demand that free speech rights be taken from conservatives an action that itself is a form of hate speech.

    “…how can we assure that all our children will be treated equally?”

    We know that ALREADY, conservative children are not treated equally particularly those who are white. Whites in schools and in the work place have to endure attacks based solely on their race, an immutable quality. These attacks come, as usual, from the left who claim these whites are racists or white supremacists because they do not subscribe to either the theories of race hustlers, or bow down to the demands of the hate mongering SJW.

    “The Trump administration has gone out of its way to shame people of color.”

    That is a lie! You provided nothing to substantiate your baseless claim…no surprise there.

    It is the 1619 project that is bad history. It is bad history promoted by leftist zealots with an agenda. The 1776 project was a corrective on this bad/false history. It does not sympathize with slave holders nor does it treat blacks as enemies…those are more of your lies. Conservatives are the ones who champion basic human rights one of which is the very freedom of speech you appear all too willing to discard.

    Because you have presented no support for your fact-free claims, YOU are not fit to judge the Hostetters or what is accurate history.

  • S Raymundo writes as a maoist/marxist useful idiot. There is nothing in this article but the continued regurgitation of ‘orange-man-bad’ dialogue. This entire article wreaks of group-think and lacks any informational value. If the reader agrees with the content – social score plus. If the reader disagrees with the content – social score = CANCEL.

    The very fact that D Davison is able to so effectively dissect this piece demonstrates that the writer is void of any actual intelligence.

    Beneficial suggestions to the author: Since your current literary work is truly worthless, try doing some research. Cite your sources. Dig till you find a challenging disagreement with your position. Enter into a legitimate two-sided debate. Defend a position of TRUTH.

  • Kudos to cogent analysis of this article by M. Robert Mack, Dave Davison, and Terry Buda. Perhaps those three should be writing for the SCT?

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