CUSD in hot seat over party with shirtless male performers, CHS students

by Mick Rhodes | editor@claremont-courier.com

Claremont Unified School District is embroiled in a new controversy over allegations of misconduct surrounding a holiday party at board of education president Steven Llanusa’s home that included shirtless adult male performers and Claremont High School students.

Photos taken at the Saturday, December 3 party at Llanusa’s north Claremont home in the Claraboya district show shirtless men flexing their muscles and members of the Claremont High School Choir performing.

Llanusa, reached via text Friday morning, said “No comment,” before following up with another text a few minutes later stating, “On the advice of legal counsel I can not [sic] make any comments.”

CUSD Board of Education President Steven Llanusa. COURIER photo/Steven Felschundneff

The CUSD Board of Education scheduled a “special meeting” for 1 p.m. today at the district offices, 170 W. San Jose Ave. Several parents — and several television news crews — have indicated they will attend the meeting.

The meeting includes regular business, such as the swearing in of newly elected board members Kathryn Dunn and Richard O’Neill, and a closed session item that may be related to the party controversy.

The agenda, viewable by clicking through at cusd.claremont.edu, includes closed session item 6.01, which reads, “Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation: Government Code 54954.5(c), Significant Exposure to Litigation pursuant to paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (d) of Section 54956.9 – One Case.”

Several parents of CHS students, some of which who attended the party in question, have contacted the COURIER today, many angry over the alleged incident.

Claremont resident Deborah Kekone, mother of Chaparral Elementary School sixth grader and a 2019 CHS grad, said it’s time for Llanusa, who was reelected November 8 and has been on the board for 17 years, to step down.

“I think it’s in the best interest of everyone involved in our community that Steven resigns from the school board,” Kekone said. “I feel it will allow people to heal. It will allow people to move on. I will allow people to know that he’s taking some responsibility for what happened at the party, and it will allow everyone to move forward. If he doesn’t resign, it doesn’t show that he has the district’s or the community’s best interests at heart.”

Llanusa has hosted annual holiday parties at his home for the past several years.

“He always has … adult performers there dressed like that as eye candy at the party,” Kekone said. “They post pictures every single year of the party. The party wasn’t any different than any other party he’s ever had, it’s just that he decided this time to bring kids and expose them to all kinds of things that their parents were not aware of.”

This story is evolving and will be updated as new information becomes available.

UPDATED 5:02 p.m.

Resident Gabriel Lozano was one of about a dozen people who spoke during public comment at the special meeting of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education today. Parents and other community members voiced anger and disappointment regarding a December 3 party at CUSD Board President Steven Llanusa’s home. COURIER photo/Steven Felschundneff

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