The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the SC Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

By Collin Breaux

Following protests against racial inequity this summer, the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees approved a wide-ranging plan intended to address racist and cultural harassment, make schools more welcoming climates, and support LGBTQ+ students.

The Cultural Proficiency Plan has been in the works since October 2019 and was officially approved during a Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

The plan will include anti-bullying training for school staff; fostering multiple ways for students to report bullying; addressing chronic absenteeism among disabled, Black, homeless, foster care, Hispanic, and socially and economically disadvantaged students through parent outreach; and examining and ideally rectifying adversely disproportionate suspension rates among those students, among other measures.

“This (conversation) is really ongoing, and it’s fantastic,” Trustee Amy Hanacek said. “The sooner we can take all this amazing work and not let it lag, the more energy we have towards our goals.”

The plan passed by a 6-1 vote. Trustees Gila Jones, Judy Bullockus, Martha McNicholas, Pamela Braunstein, Krista Castellanos and Hanacek voted yes. Trustee Lisa Davis, who studied the plan but wanted to see more information, voted no.

The plan incorporates feedback from the district’s Cultural Proficiency Task Force, which formed in fall 2019, as well as from members of the group CUSD Against Racism and trustees. District office members and school management representatives are on the Cultural Proficiency Task Force.

CUSD Against Racism organizers who had commented during the Dec. 16 meeting said they were glad to see the plan come forth and appreciated the hard work that went into it, but they urged district officials to continue further with anti-racist measures, and be transparent and accountable in doing so.

Jones said the board should approve the plan, so it’s “on the table,” and the plan can be tweaked as needed as time goes on.

“I would like to pass this tonight with relatively few changes—not that the suggestions are not great. It’s just that we’re talking about editing from the dais, basically,” Jones said. “And that is always a bad practice. I feel like I would like to pass this tonight and maybe revisit it with the input of CUSD Against Racism.”

The Cultural Proficiency Task Force will meet regularly to monitor the implementation of the plan and will share progress with the board, according to a staff report.

In other board news, Braunstein and Davis were sworn in as new trustees after winning the November elections. Braunstein unseated former Board President Jim Reardon in the election for Area 2, which covers portions of San Juan Capistrano. Reardon had served on the board for eight years.

Davis won a close race against fellow candidate Sue Hill for Area 3, which covers portions of San Clemente. Former Area 3 Trustee Patricia Holloway did not run for reelection.

Castellanos and Hanacek were also sworn in again for their seats in Areas 5 and 1, respectively. Castellanos won reelection against challengers Paul Hebbard and Jasmine Funes, while Hanacek was unopposed in the election.

Area 5 covers portions of Aliso Viejo and Laguna Niguel; Area 1 covers portions of San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point, including Capistrano Beach. Bullockus was named the new Board President and Castellanos the new Vice President, as part of the board’s annual leadership reorganization.

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at                         

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Staff

comments (3)

  • There is NO systemic racism in America. America has never been less racist but foolishness like the above threatens to throw away the gains we’ve made. Martin Luther King Jr. is turning over in his grave.

    Here is black commentator, Larry Elder discussing the myth of systemic racism:

  • Old white “conservative” from the OC guy knows all there is to know about systemic racism because he listens to the guy known outside “conservative” circles as Uncle Tom, Race Traitor and The White Man’s Poster Boy.

    There seems to be a considerable amount of evidence to the contrary BTW.

  • There is NO systemic racism in America.

    “…because he listens to the guy known outside “conservative” circles as Uncle Tom, Race Traitor and The White Man’s Poster Boy.”

    Hal, yours is an ad hominem attack that did NOT address a single point Larry Elder made, in fact, you obviously didn’t bother to watch it. Repeating the racial slur, Uncle Tom, really Hal?

    What people inside and outside conservative circles can’t call Larry Elder, is “wrong”.

    Had you bothered to watch the video piece, you would have heard Larry address and refute some of the very points made in your first posted link by Business Insider.

    In that first link, 26 charts are provided and I’m going to assume they are all accurate. What the charts don’t say and cannot say, is what the cause of these disparities are. If one ASSUMES the disparities are due to systemic racism, then when Asians do better than whites should we conclude that society is racist against whites in favor of Asians?

    Look at the chart for “Intergenerational educational mobility by race”. Asians are at 48.9% and whites a mere 24.5% indicating, if we subscribed to the shallow thinking you employ, that there is also systemic racism against whites! In addition, blacks did far better than American Indians! 54% of Asians are in management/professional positions as opposed to only 41% of whites. Asian women did far better than white women in annual earnings. Again, is all of this because of some systemic racism that benefits Asians?

    The chart and explanation for getting home loans never bothers to tell the viewer that black owned banks refused to lend to black applicants at the same rate as white owned banks demonstrating that failure to get a loan has nothing to do with race but with the ability to pay a mortgage.

    Some of the narrative pushed in this Business Insider piece is just farcical. Blacks suffer from Covid more than whites…and that is supposed to be because of systemic racism?

    Blacks are over represented in prison. Yeah, because they commit more crime…by a wide margin. This also explains why more blacks are killed by police per million by race. Police interact where crimes are being committed and when more (by % of race) are being committed by blacks, one should expect there to be more police killings of blacks. In fact, the number of killings under represent the number of violent crimes committed by blacks and surveys consistently indicate that white officers are less likely to shoot a black suspect than they are a white under identical circumstances.

    So Hal, here are some more black intellectuals refuting the notion that systemic racism exists in America…are they all “Uncle Toms”?

    How Anti-Racism Hurts Black People by John McWhorter

    The United States is NOT Institutionally Racist by David Webb

    Does Systemic Racism Exist in the United States Today, a discussion between Ben Shapiro (Jewish) and Dr. Walter Williams

    Fair Argument Against “Systemic Racism” an interview between Dave Rubin (Jewish) and Coleman Hughes. Here, Hughes points out that black immigrants (West Indians) do much better than blacks who have been here for generations.

    The Idea of “Systemic Racism” is a lie that has no meaning and reminds Thomas Sowell of Nazi Germany.

    Debunking Systemic Racism & Having Common Decency an interview between Dave Rubin and Thomas Sowell

    While not strictly on “systemic racism”, this interview of Morgan Freeman by Mike Wallace is revealing:

    Finally, an excellent book that reveals the misguided policies and attitudes of white liberals vis a vis blacks: Jason L. Riley’s “Please Stop Helping Us, How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed”.

comments (3)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>