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2 Orange Unified School Board Members Advocating for Parental Rights Likely to Be Recalled

2 Orange Unified School Board Members Advocating for Parental Rights Likely to Be Recalled

A Orange Unified School District board meeting in Orange, Calif., on Aug. 17, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

3/8/2024

Updated: 3/10/2024

Unofficial March 5 election results show that two Orange County school board trustees, who sparked controversy for their conservative stances, are likely to be recalled.
Results as of 5 p.m. March 7 show 53 percent of voters approve the removal of Orange Unified School Board President Rick Ledesma and 52.8 percent also voted to oust Trustee Madison Miner.
In an emailed statement to The Epoch Times, Ms. Miner said she is “committed to upholding our values and principles regardless of the outcome of the recall election. Our focus remains on providing quality education and fostering a safe learning environment for our students.”
Orange Unified School Board Trustee Madison Miner speaks at a board meeting in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Orange Unified School Board Trustee Madison Miner speaks at a board meeting in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Neither the recall proponents nor Mr. Ledesma were immediately available for comment.
In a previous statement to The Epoch Times, Mr. Ledesma claimed the recall was part of a wider assault on parents’ rights over their children’s education.
“Since being elected, we proudly fought for important issues like parental notification, curriculum transparency, and the removal of sexually explicit materials from schools—which explains the targets on our backs,” he said in a January statement to The Epoch Times.
Both board members’ elections in November 2022 flipped the board’s majority conservative.
Mr. Ledesma has been elected to the OUSD board three times since 2014 and was reelected to a four-year term in 2022 along with Ms. Miner, who is serving her first four-year term.
Orange Unified School Board President Rick Ledesma speaks at a board meeting in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Orange Unified School Board President Rick Ledesma speaks at a board meeting in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

The recall campaign cites the trustees’ abrupt firing of its superintendent last January—as well as several subsequent controversial decisions—as reasons for the recall.
It claims that the board brought forth “shocking proposals to every board meeting in 2023,” including attempts to “censor libraries,” and “discriminate against special needs and LGBTQ students.”
In January, the board majority voted to fire its longtime superintendent, Gunn Marie Hansen, and place Assistant Supt. Cathleen Corella on leave pending an academic audit.
Additionally, in June, the board adopted a “parent’s bill of rights,” which grants district parents and guardians the right to know what their children are being taught and the right to be heard by district leaders.
The same month, it also adopted a policy allowing only the U.S. and state flags to be flown on district and school flag poles, which critics called homophobic, saying it was a move to ban LGBT Pride flags from being displayed in classrooms.
Finally, in September, the school board also passed a parent notification policy that will require schools to notify parents if their child identifies as transgender, amid a statewide debate over the issue.
Community members gather outside of an Orange Unified School Board meeting, during which the board passes a policy to notify parents when their child wishes to identify as transgender, in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Community members gather outside of an Orange Unified School Board meeting, during which the board passes a policy to notify parents when their child wishes to identify as transgender, in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

If the trustees are officially recalled, the district’s bylaws give the board three options for filling the two seats: it can call a special election right after the final March primary results are announced, wait until the regular election in November to fill the vacancies, or vote on appointing new trustees.
The Orange County Registrar/County Clerk will be updated daily, until votes are certified on or about April 2, according to its website.
 
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

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Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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