Capistrano Unified School District seems to have become a battleground for people on both sides of lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender issues.
In January, an area parent asked the school board not to obey a new law which requires schools to include contributions of the LGBT community in the curriculum. The board took no action.
But since then, Trustee Jim Reardon has appointed that parent, Stanley Wasbin of San Clemente, to the committee in charge of reviewing new textbooks.
That prompted eight people to come before the school board Wednesday night to not only express dismay at Wasbin’s official position with the district but also to ensure CUSD complies with the law.
“Imagine our dismay after all those hurtful, inflammatory words [Wasbin] was given a voice while the voices of thousands of students of this district go unheard,” said Christie Draper of Aliso Viejo, a parent of three children in the district.
Colin Gibson, an Aliso Niguel High School graduate now living in Laguna Hills, also spoke the night Wasbin made his presentation to the board in January. He came back Wednesday to speak again
“I do find it interesting that a very openly homophobic [person] … made his way onto a group that has power to select curriculum for our kids. It’s almost like we weren’t taken seriously, weren’t being listened to,” Gibson said.
Ariel Bustamante, Southern California program coordinator for Gay-Straight Alliance Network, came from Los Angeles to offer her services as a resource to the district. She said studies show that LGBT students feel more connected, like school better and have better attendance when their curriculum includes the contributions LGBTs have made in history and society.
“Do the right thing. Be on the right side of history,” urged Barbara Pisetsky, South Orange County president of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
Most of the speakers addressed the board on its agenda item discussing the transition to the national “Common Core” standards and the $10 million windfall the state has given the district to make that switch. Trustees took no action regarding curriculum.
After the meeting, Reardon defended his appointment of Wasbin to the Instructional Materials Review Committee.
“He’s been one of the more assiduous members of the committee. He’s made a bigger time commitment,” Reardon said. “I’m not going to yank him from that position, but he’s not the only person who’s going to serve,” he added, saying the appointment was for a one-year term.
EDITOR’S NOTE: While the original stories detailing Wasbin’s request that the school district not comply with the new law are currently unavailable in Patch archives, we did upload video clips from the Jan. 7, 2013 meeting here.