A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


Hacienda La Puente families make their last stand on school closures

Protester numbers dwindle as reconfiguration plans move forward
Jacob Bertram
Manuel Maldonado and Luz Cruz lead the charge toward Glen A. Wilson High school.

A small group of students and parents from the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District held a protest to stop school closures before the district’s last board meeting of the school year on Thursday, May 9.

The gathering of 14 protesters initially set up their rally at Steinmetz Park in Hacienda Heights where they expressed discontent with the district’s school reconfiguration decision last fall. They sang classic Mexican folk songs such as “Ciento Lindo” and “De Colores,” a call back to the United Farm Workers Union’s battle for fair wages and workers’ rights.


Community members sing “De Colores” at Steinmetz Park during the protest. (Jacob Bertram)


Christina Gomez, a mother of a student from Bixby elementary, expressed her frustration with the district, saying she didn’t feel that the board was willing to listen to the families most affected by school closures.

“I don’t really know how to feel right now, every time I’ve gone to a board meeting – I stopped going because I didn’t see the point,” Gomez said. “I feel like I wasn’t being heard, I feel like I wasn’t given the chance to be heard.”

Bixby Elementary is one of the four district schools permanently closing at the end of this school year.

“I feel like there’s this unspoken divide within the district,” Gomez added. “I know a lot of parents at Bixby feel defeated, they feel like the school didn’t do anything for them, the district didn’t do anything for them.”

At around 6:30 p.m., the group began their mile-long march down Wedgeworth Drive to the district’s regularly scheduled board meeting, which was held at Glen A. Wilson High School, picketing in the parking lot until the meeting began later that evening.


Manuel Maldonado leads the charge toward Glen A. Wilson High school as a student begs for his school to remain open. (Jacob Bertram)


The district made its decision in November to completely close four elementary schools while converting two others from K-8 schools into middle schools only; dozens of affected families have been attending board meetings to voice their opposition to reconfiguration.

In that time, the meetings have become tense with stakeholders who are both in favor and opposed to reconfiguration complaining that the situation has made meetings feel both unsafe and unproductive.

On at least four occasions, Board President Christine Salazar declared an unlawful assembly, utilizing both district police and deputies from the LA County Sheriffs, to remove the community from the boardroom as tensions boiled over.

Due to time constraints because of a late start, the meeting was adjourned prior to completion of the agenda and a continuance meeting was held on May 13.

The reconfiguration plan will move forward at the end of the school year. The district will hold its next regularly scheduled board meeting on June 13, 2024, at 6:30 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Jacob Bertram
Jacob Bertram, News Editor
Jacob Bertram is the News Editor. He is  in his second year at Mt. SAC and enjoys covering labor, politics, and social justice. He is also a Navy veteran.

Comments (4)

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  • J

    Joe MamaMay 24, 2024 at 12:05 pm

    Weak a s s turnout due to weak a s s leadership!

    The organizer was on his way to Vegas early that evening for “a family wedding.” A wedding on a THURSDAY NIGHT! Imagine that? But he didn’t miss the guitar picture opp. SMDH ‍♂️


    • R

      Ricardo Flores MagonMay 29, 2024 at 10:17 am

      If you were really familiar with Mexican culture or had you been there in person, you would know that that isn’t a guitar in the photo, but rather a bajo quinto. ‍♂️‍♂️‍♂️

  • E

    ElizabethMay 18, 2024 at 7:59 am

    Illegal assembly

    10.26.23 Ms. TAPIA, per board stated on another board meeting,
    The board member described
    her behavior as” abusive”. She abused the translation service,
    took valuable time away from people that really needed translation service. She refused to leave and caused an illegal assembly Later, she addressed the board “you guys are full of sxxt”. Very classy indeed.

    11.09.23 MS. MARTINEZ demanded translation during Engish public speaking time. MR. VASQUEZ later caused an illegal assembly

    MR MALDONADO, per board, he made a verbal threat during public comment, he refused to leave and caused an illegal assembly.
    MR. VASQUEZ was later cited a ticket and needed to appear at the court in April.

    4th one.. probably referred to MR MALDONADO for handcuff, after he was told not to return.

    • I

      IsabelMay 23, 2024 at 8:17 am

      Unfortunately you are missing key details of what the Board members did to the community. Ms Tapia was never abusive, in fact she stood quietly at the podium while other community members argued with the board. She did not take away time from the community. Christine Salazar, board president, abused her power and took all the time arguing with community members instead of allowing a 30 second translation by Ms Tapia.
      Ms Martinez stood in line to speak, and when she got to the podium, Ms Salazar told her she had to go to the end of the line because she needed translation. Again, Ms Salazar abused her power, causing community members to become upset.
      Mr Maldonado defended a classified employee who stated on record that she was being harassed and targeted by a teacher. Ms Salazar did not like that he defended her and claimed he threatened a teacher. Again, Ms Salazar abused her power to silence the voices of the community by simply kicking them out, thereby upsetting the community once again.
      Lastly, Mr Maldonado was issued an improper cease and desist letter to attend a Public meeting. Ms Salazar gave orders to have him removed and hand cuffed when he arrived at a meeting. Ms Salazar again showing abuse of power. This is a serious pattern and issue. She does not belong on the Board. She has created dissent and targeted community members to silence them.