California Courier

Anti-Parent Policies Have Led to a Decline in CUSD Enrollments by 1,000 Students

CUSD faces a sharp decline in enrollments pending the recent board decisions against parent notification policies. 

Student enrollment in the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) has seen a sharp decline with nearly 1,000 students leaving the district in the last year, and 10,000 students leaving the district since 2009. While Capistrano Unified is attempting to connect this decline to the increased cost of living in California, lower birthing rates in recent years, and post-pandemic obstacles, the obvious tensions that exist in the CUSD can be to blame for this sharp decline. 

In October of 2023, parents urged the CUSD board to vote in favor of a policy that would include them in pertinent conversations about their child’s mental health and identity. The board voted 5-2 against the policy that would inform parents about major life decisions their child is making on school premises with members Lisa Davis and Judy Bullockus being the only two to vote in favor of the policy.

Davis introduced this proposal and argued saying that “the issue tonight is whether parents should be excluded from major decisions relating to their children, especially when their children are at a greater risk for suffering from emotional or mental-health related issues.” Davis explained that this policy would “protect children, their parents, and teachers when facing a variety of issues that can negatively impact their health, safety, and welfare.”

This policy came as an opportunity for parents to reclaim a spot in their child’s life, absent the influences from the peers or teachers they interact with daily at school. “I ask for your vote to make it clear to parents and guardians that we see them as an integral part of their child’s success both academically and in their life, as we combat the real challenges our students are facing, which is no less than a [mental health] epidemic,” Davis commented.

Parents and taxpayers alike say they are tired of receiving no support from their elected school board officials in light of controversial issues such as this one, with many parents pulling their children out of CUSD and putting them into charter schools instead. Anti-parent decisions coming from CUSD have diminished trust in the tax-funded education system that parents have historically sent their children to.

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