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Former Board Member Slams Trustee Soo Yoo for Endorsing Alternative Schools

October 12, 2023

By Brian Hews

In early September, Los Cerritos Community News reported that ABC Unified School District Trustee Soo Yoo, at the September 5 board meeting, pulled out a four-page speech during board comment and spouted right-wing memes while suggesting that students and parents of ABCUSD should consider homeschooling or alternative schools.



It was another bombshell from Yoo in line with her racist comments that “Mexicans should stop having Quinceneras and save their money,” and that “blacks should get over that slavery thing.”

Yoo blasted the implementation of Common Core, which are State Board of Education standards for all students, K-12. Since 2010, a number of states across the nation have adopted the same standards for English and math.

Yoo claimed that ABCUSD students are behind in math because of Common Core, “ABC was doing just fine before Common Core. In recent years, math skills have declined, and ABC students are less prepared for higher math, which is bad news for students who want to pursue STEM.

She went on to criticize Sacramento’s “woke policies” finishing with a statement that drew audible gasps from attendees. 

“If the parents don’t like what’s going on in their district, the parents should know about the options to either homeschool their child or consider alternative education. Either homeschool or alternative education you can choose. Sacramento will continue to push down Assembly bills and Senate bills that will attack parent’s rights.”

It was not only incendiary, but a very questionable statement given that Yoo owns a private tutoring company in Cerritos just one mile from ABCUSD offices.

There was silence for a few seconds, then a visibly angry Trustee Olga Rios spoke and excoriated Yoo. “Advocating for kids to join a non-public school…. that’s not what we do up here Board Member Yoo. We stand behind the emblem of the Department of Education, we don’t stand against it. I am really troubled by your comments tonight.”

No other board member chose to speak about Yoo’s comments, but ABC Federation of Teachers President Ray Gaer stepped up to the dais and pilloried Yoo.

“It’s a shame that somebody who’s on a public education board is actually advocating for homeschooling, which would take away funding from the school district. Ms. Yoo, I’m sorry you’re advocating for that; makes it really hard to be on any page with you. You are so hypocritical.”

Fast forward to the latest ABC Board meeting on October 3, where one well-respected former 16-year board member spoke at public comments about Yoo’s statements.

Celia Spitzer, ABC Board Member from 1999 to 2015 did not mince words during her nearly five-minute speech, “I was deeply saddened and appalled when I read [in Los Cerritos Community News] where Soo Yoo said parents should consider homeschooling their kids or sending them to alternative schools.

“School board members are trustees of their district; the voters expect that they can trust the trustee to support their public schools. This includes advocating for ABC kids to attend one of our many outstanding schools.

“Mrs. Yoo did the opposite….. therefore, she does not deserve our trust and should not be on the board.”

Over a year ago, the ABC Board established an ad-hoc committee to address declining enrollment; Ms. Spitzer is a committee member. The group has met several times and will make a recommendation next spring about the fiscal and other challenges concerning declining enrollment.

Spitzer continued echoing what Trustee Dr. Rios stated, “In view of declining enrollment, not just a problem at ABC but in other districts, Mrs. Yoo’s words are even more concerning.

“I served from 1999 to 2015; during that time, all board members were outspoken cheerleaders for the ABC. One of our goals was to encourage and facilitate enrollment in our schools. Mrs. Yoo, your statement about homeschooling or sending kids to alternative schools is counterproductive to maintaining and increasing the number of students at ABC. 

“What you have said is harmful to our [school] district and not in the best interest of anyone living here or planning to move to ABC, which many do to attend our award-winning schools.

“While I certainly understand a parent’s choice to send their kids to a non-public school, particularly one with religious affiliation, I do not believe it is appropriate for a school board member to suggest from the dais at a public board meeting that parents should not send their child to public school.”

Spitzer then said what many in the ABC are calling for, that Yoo should resign or be recalled.

“Mrs. Yoo, if you are not willing to promote attendance at our schools or at least not promote alternative schools, you should step down from the board so the voters in your area can elect someone who will.

“In closing, I want to thank Dr. Rios for speaking out as an ABC Board Member in criticizing Mrs. Yoo, who apparently does not believe in public school education. I hope that more of the board will speak out more tonight.”

No other board member spoke later in the meeting; Dr. Rios was absent that night.

During board comment, Yoo went into defense mode, irrationally commenting on “Sacramento woke policies” while insulting the other board members saying, “even some of our board members don’t know of some of the [Sacramento] bills passed every week and signed into law. Children 13 or 14 should not make medical decisions without parent’s involvement.”

Yoo proceeded to “set the record straight” on Ms. Spitzer’s comments, resorting to outright lies. “I actually praised ABC [at the September 5 meeting]. I am proud of our principles, and I respect them.”

This despite Yoo saying on video, “ABC students are less prepared for higher math, which is bad news for students who want to pursue STEM.”

Yoo continued her rambling comments, “Nonetheless, every parent should have their choice. I homeschooled my kids….When I look at parents, they are fearful, in tears, they are torn because of societal issues and the laws that are [being] passed down.”

And in a familiar right-wing meme used by Yoo to gin up hatred and violence against the media and this newspaper, Yoo threw rules of decorum out the window, slandering and defaming LCCN behind the dias.

“[LCCN Publisher] Brian Hews, I know that he has a record of putting words into my mouth, taking words out of context, lying, slander, division. We need to stop that because as we are going through difficulty, we need to stick together.”

It was a not-so-veiled threat by Yoo, “we need to stop that;” Board President Brad Beach completely ignored the threat, moving on to the next agenda item, giving tacit approval of Yoo’s slanderous, defamatory and threatening statements.

LCCN sent a request for comment to all board members, except for Dr. Olga Rios who let her feelings be known already, no other board member responded.

“Politicians who can’t handle the truth will often dispel nonsense from the dais because of the protections provided by the law. If they really believed it was true, they would say it off the dais” said LCCN attorney Scott Talkov, an attorney based in Villa Park.