The Board’s primary objective was to censure one of their own, Stacy Keszei. She is one of the only board members who has argued against rewriting policies just because the California Association of School Boards (CASB) recommends it, voted against 4×4, argued against No Place for Hate and the Equity Committee, argued for supporting broader lawsuits and initiatives for CUSD to exercise local control in light of arbitrary and unconstitutional mask and vaccine mandates, and the only member who removed her name from the hasty, lacking in judgement Tortilla Gate apology letter.
The censure effort lost steam due in part to a vigorous defense by Keszei’s lawyer, Michael Giorgino, which shed light on Board hypocrisy and the lack of merit with reference to confidentiality of disclosures. When the lack of support by Pontes and Cruz-Anderson became apparent rather than vote on the censure and putting it to bed, Pontes used Antrim’s emotional and tearful soliloquy to end the meeting and leave the censure as a Damocles’ sword against Keszei.
“I’ve had threats of violence directed at me, over and over again,” Antrim said. “I’ve been interviewed by the FBI. I’ve been interviewed by the district attorney. These threats are real. They have consequences.” Trustee Esther Valdez-Clayton said the bigger issue was ethics; did Keszei uphold her duties as a trustee in accordance to board member policy? Dr. Anderson-Cruz said she wanted to find “a solution that works” and that she felt like the board was not functioning. “I want to move on from this and get back to the kids,” said Dr. Anderson-Cruz (Tuhl, 2021).
The public shared concerns with 1) a lack of emphasis on academic excellence; 2) “equity”, a defining characteristic of Critical Race Theory, remains embedded in District documents, reports and policies; 3) lack of trust in Trustees; 4) adopting or modifying existing policies related to civility and “hate-motivated behavior”; 5) mistakes and poor judgement of the CUSD administration; 5) Antrim’s social media post suggesting members of the community feel terrorized by “fringe groups.”