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Staff report

Citing her disagreement with anti-mask sentiments from other trustees, Capistrano Unified School District Trustee Pamela Braunstein has resigned from her position.

The resignation was effective March 3, according to a statement from the district. Braunstein represented Area 2, which covers most of San Juan Capistrano.

“Some of my fellow CUSD Trustees have been proposing policies that aren’t compliant with the law, which, if they were to succeed, (would) not only hurt the district but put me in an untenable position ethically and professionally as an attorney,” Braunstein announced in a statement.

The policy in reference was a recent resolution from Trustee Lisa Davis—who represents San Clemente—calling for masks to be optional for students ahead of the state lifting the student mask mandate after March 11. The resolution failed to be approved by the board in a 4-3 vote, with Braunstein among the “no” votes.

“This, along with the never-ending, organized harassment by a certain vocal minority led me to the unfortunate conclusion that I had to resign for the safety of myself and my family,” Braunstein further said.

Parents and students opposed to mask and vaccine requirements for school students have frequently shown up to demonstrate against pandemic-era requirements during CUSD board meetings. Such requirements are set by the California Department of Public Health, and CUSD officials have frequently said they must comply.

Braunstein served as the Area 2 trustee after winning the November 2020 election against then-incumbent Jim Reardon.

“At the March 16 Board meeting, the trustees will consider holding a special election to fill the vacancy, or conducting an appointment process to identify an individual who would fill the vacancy until the November 2022 elections,” the district announced in a statement.

The meeting will be held at the Capistrano Unified School District office at 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano and also live-streamed on YouTube.

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