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Capistrano Unified's Michael Parham Draws Ire Over Controversial Remarks on Parental Notification

Community reacts strongly to the Vice President's comments on assessing parental risk in student mental health issues.

In a recent and contentious development, Michael Parham, Vice President of Capistrano Unified School District, has sparked significant backlash from the community. This controversy stems from his statement about the necessity for the school district to evaluate whether parents pose a risk to their own children before sharing information about their children's mental health.

The issue came to the forefront during a Ladera Ranch Civic Council meeting, where Councilman Tafa Jefferson questioned Parham about the district's authority in informing parents about their students' mental health concerns. Parham's response was unequivocal: "[Teachers and the school district] determine whether there’s something that rises to the occasion that a parent is the risk [to their own child]." This remark ignited strong reactions from parents, who believe they are best suited to understand and address their children's needs, not the school district.

Adding fuel to the fire, Parham had recently voted against a policy designed to uphold a parental notification system. This decision contradicted his earlier campaign promises advocating for parental rights. The policy in question would have authorized the district to withhold information from parents in cases of students facing mental health crises.

Parham defended his stance and the subsequent opposition from parents as a result of "misinformation," providing answers that many found vague and unsatisfactory. This situation has put him at the center of a heated debate on the balance between student privacy, mental health, and parental involvement in school districts.


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