Claremont school district president under fire after hosting event with high schoolers, adult dancers
A Claremont school district official is in hot water after several photos of a scandalous holiday party have come to light in recent days, where several students were in attendance and allegedly offered alcohol.
Parents are now asking a number of questions as to why teenagers were invited to a party at his home where male adult dancers and an open bar were prominently featured.
Sabrina Ho, parent to one of the students, spoke at a special board meeting on Friday, after a party was held at Claremont Unified School District President Steven Llanusa's home last Friday, where Claremont High School choir members were paid to perform as part of a school fundraiser.
"Upon the student's arrival, Mr. Llanusa invited the high school choir group into his private adult party in his home," Ho said. "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."
Those dancers, dressed as shirtless elves and a "dirty Santa," allegedly made inappropriate comments to several of the students as well.
"They were offered an open bar and to socialize with half-naked men, the dirty Santa who made disgusting comments to our children," said Gabriel Lozano, another parent who is also upset that there was no school official there to chaperone the children, on top of everything else.
Now, both Claremont Police Department and the school district have launched investigations into allegations of misconduct, interviewing the students in attendance at the party.
As that probe continues, Llanusa was absent from Friday's school board meeting, but other members took the time to address the topic.
Among those, Vice President Kathy Archer, who said, "I would like to be perfectly clear there were no other current or past board members present at that party."
Attempts to contact Llanusa at his home were unanswered on Friday.
In response to the investigation, CUSD issued a statement, which read:
"Board members are entrusted to represent the community that they serve. 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.
To this point, the majority of the Board met today with legal counsel and Superintendent Elsasser to review the allegations concerning the private party that our high school choir students were invited to perform at last weekend. Because the party took place at Trustee Llanusa's home, he was not present for this Closed Session meeting. While we cannot legally share details from the Board's discussions with counsel, we may share these important sentiments and truths.
In today's meeting, 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.
We believe our dedicated professionals who work in CUSD schools, teaching, supporting, and nurturing our students deserve for us to stay focused. The families and caregivers who trust their children to us deserve our full attention to their students' needs. Our students, the heart of our work, inspire us to do all that we can to support their learning.
Thank you for trusting us to keep the organization focused on service to students as the Board and our community navigate its way through this terribly unfortunate situation."
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