Halt investigation update to be discussed at tonight (7 p.m. Wednesday, May 27) 

Hundreds of people attended a Capistrano Unified School District board of Trustees meeting May 21 that was primarily closed session. The closed session lasted more than four hours while trustees discussed the personnel files of former principal Mike Halt with an attorney. Photo: Eric Heinz
Hundreds of people attended a Capistrano Unified School District board of Trustees meeting May 21 that was primarily closed session. The closed session lasted more than four hours while trustees discussed the personnel files of former principal Mike Halt with an attorney. Photo: Eric Heinz

By Eric Heinz

The people who remained through the four-hour duration of the Capistrano Unified School District closed session showed outrage when the Board of Trustees returned with no reportable action.

More than 350 people attended the closed session meeting Thursday, May 21 at the district’s headquarters in San Juan Capistrano, with 26 people signing up to speak to the board beforehand—a significant portion of whom were students.

Because of the outpour of people in attendance, the trustees voted to waive the overall time limit for speakers, which is usually 20 minutes.

The larger-than-normal attendance is due to the movement of people opposed to former San Clemente High School Principal Mike Halt’s dismissal last month.

Following the no-action report, people chanted “recall” in the meeting room.

On Monday, May 25, Trustee John Alpay of District 3, which represents San Clemente High School, stated on his political Facebook page his support of reinstating Halt. Alpay had previously expressed his position in a letter to the San Clemente Times in the May 7 edition.

After the trustees came out of closed session, they voted unanimously to continue the discussion at a meeting tentatively scheduled for June 4. The CUSD agenda for the Wednesday, May 27 meeting, had discussion regarding whether to hire an independent investigator listed. The decision on whether to reinstate Halt will ultimately be up to the consensus of the board. Whether the meeting will be exclusively dedicated to executive session remains to be announced.

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  • San Clemente HS Dad Reply

    Sadly, the delay continued as the CUSD voted to reschedule the Agenda Item and discussion in the first week in June. Ten scheduled speakers were denied the opportunity to speak. SCHS teachers, students and parents were present in large numbers. Of note were people from other parts of the District who were wearing “I Like Mike” buttons. The firing of Principal Mike Halt has brought to light other CUSD shortcomings by raising District-wide awareness on the poor performance of the appointed leaders and the Trustees who are expected to hold them accountable. Tonight we listened to a man raised in Argentina during the time of the Military dictatorship, who eloquently made the analogy that Mr. Halt’s firing and the active suppression of any discussion reminded him of that system in America. Bickering and disention among the Trustees at several points during the evening was embarrassing and amateurish… Reflecting this entire situation. Sadly, students and community are stuck with this.

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