Investigations are underway outside Los Angeles after a school board president was reported to have invited underage students to perform at what turned out to be an adult-themed Christmas party with a “dirty Santa” and scantily clad performers.
(Video: CBS News)
Steven Llanusa, a teacher who has since resigned his position as president of Claremont Unified School District’s Board of Education, is at the center of controversy after allegedly endangering students from Claremont High School, which is roughly 30 miles east of LA.
According to reports, members of the high school choir were invited to attend Llanusa’s party being held at his home on December 3.
Although, as CBS News reported, the students were getting paid to perform as part of a school fundraiser, upset parents spoke out at a special board meeting held last Friday to address the serious concerns about what actually went on.
Sabrina Ho, one of the parents in attendance at the meeting explained that she had signed a permission slip for her child to attend because of the belief Llanusa could be trusted.
“Upon the students’ arrival, Mr. Llanusa invited the high school choir group into his private adult party in his home,” Ho told the board. “They were encouraged to take part in food and festivities. The students didn’t begin their scheduled performance until over an hour later and were offered alcohol by party guests among inappropriately dressed entertainers.”
Another parent, Gabriel Lozano, stated in part, “They were offered an open bar and to socialize with the half-naked men, a dirty Santa that offered and made disgusting comments toward children.”
Pictures from the event began circulating on the internet after one of the attendees boasted of the great time he had had at the celebration, but they were quickly scrubbed from his Facebook account.
Along with affirming that no other members of the board had been in attendance at the party, members released an official statement following their closed-door meeting to begin addressing concerns.
“Board members are entrusted to represent the community that they serve,” they began. “It is a deeply humbling honor to be chosen by your neighbors, parents, and the community to represent your voices in service to our students. Ethics, integrity, honesty, and sound judgment should be your unwavering expectations of our work and conduct, always. As a Board, we strive to act as a high-functioning team, with shared goals and vision for our district.”
“In today’s meeting,” they added, “the Board majority reaffirmed its commitment to continue the important work of our District with dignity and professionalism. We are appalled by the allegations, which are understandably causing distraction, disruption and pain, as expressed in community members’ messages to the Board and Superintendent. Please know that we receive and read your messages, and we take your concerns very seriously.”
“Though the board cannot require Mr. Llanusa’s resignation, we encourage him to do so in order to begin the process of healing and returning our focus to students and their well-being,” the statement noted.
Llanusa was unable to be reached by outlets for comment and investigations by the school district and Claremont Police Department are underway.
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