California Courier

CUSD Board Members Lisa Davis and Judy Bullockus Hold the Line in Fight for Parental Rights

Despite finding themselves in the minority, Davis and Bullockus challenge overbroad mandates, sexually explicit materials, and a lack of transparency.

Across the nation, the 2022 general election cycle was markedly influenced by two key issues in the realm of education: parental rights and the widespread concern over political activism in public school curricula. This was especially true in California, where many local school boards battled state mandates over mask mandates and lockdown restrictions; progressives faced pushback for explicit sex education materials; and the National School Boards Association infamously likened concerned parents to “domestic terrorists” in a letter to the Department of Justice.

Capistrano Unified School District was no different in this regard. With one of seven seats left vacant, the Board had effectively a hung jury between parental rights advocates and union-backed candidates who tended to favor statewide mandates and follow the instructions of the California Teachers Association. Both sides geared up for a hotly-contested battle for Orange County’s largest school district.

Despite the groundswell of grassroots support for parental rights advocates, union-backed candidates won in two of the three races that cycle and ultimately claimed the coveted 4-3 Board majority. One of the Board’s first actions was to fire longtime Superintendent Kristen Vital-Brulte, who, in the words of Board Member Lisa Davis, “stood up for kids, kept CUSD schools open, not forced the vaccine but worked on choice, and protected our district from the influences of neighboring counties,” by a vote of 4-3.

Though they now find themselves in the minority, Board Members Judy Bullockus and Lisa Davis have become CUSD’s standard-bearers for parental rights and the fight against political indoctrination in the classroom. We reached out to Lisa Davis to discuss how she and Bullockus have fought to support students against a broader trend of educational content and practices that, in their view, veer away from traditional learning and towards social and political engineering.

“We brought resolutions to the board for parental rights, the fight against the mask mandates, the vaccination mandates and have fought tirelessly against anything that is not age appropriate for children,” Davis responded. “We stand up, get in the way and fight against any and all woke agenda they keep trying to let in.”

One of those resolutions was a common sense parental notification policy, which would have required a designated school administrator to notify a student’s family when “they have reasonable cause to believe that doing so will avert a clear and present danger to the health, safety or welfare of the students.” Unfortunately for parents, the other four Board members voted against the measure in October 2023. 

One year prior, Davis also championed a resolution to relax face mask requirements, citing the community’s COVID numbers which put the region in the CDC’s mask-optional status. Bullockus voted to approve the resolution, stating “I cannot condone a continuous hurting of children. My heart bleeds. I have felt ill for weeks over this issue.” In this instance, they were joined by Board Member Gila Jones, but the resolution was still struck down by a 4-3 vote along the usual lines.

As is apparent from these examples, Jones finds herself at times on both sides of the ideological divide—though she will more often than not land on the side of parents. 

“Without a Board majority, we cannot pass anything meaningful,” Davis said. “What we do until that time is stand in their way. Judy and I are a roadblock to keep the woke agenda at bay.”

Still, there are several notable examples where the majority of the Board has supported Davis and Bullockus on poignant issues. One such example includes CUSD joining 200 other school boards across the nation in a mass media lawsuit against the META platforms; (Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and WhatsApp); TikTok; YouTube; and Snapchat. Davis described this as perhaps the Board’s most noteworthy recent accomplishment and will hopefully lead to these social media entities finally being held accountable for perpetuating a nationwide youth mental health crisis.

Lisa Davis and Judy Bullockus have exemplified the principle of standing for what they and their constituents believe is right rather than what is politically expedient. It seems clear that they recognize the uphill battle they face given the current composition of the Board, but are willing to put partisanship aside for the sake of making public school a place for fostering critical thinking, academic excellence, and the moral development of students.

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