OCHSA Principal opts for censorship when choice of food vendor is questioned by student

Sue Vaughn

The face of censorship – OCHSA Principal Sue Vaughn

What sort of art school practices censorship?  That question was answered this week when Sue Vaughn, the principle at the Orange County High School for the Arts (OCHSA), literally stopped the presses – she interfered with the publishing of the school paper because she didn’t like something that a student reporter wrote about a school vendor.

“Taylor Erickson, 17, a senior at the Orange County High School of the Arts in Santa Ana, said Principal Sue Vaughn primarily objected to an article reporting that independent vendor Alegre Foods is a Christian company whose “mission” is to “serve God.” The Long Beach-based group was hired this year to run the school’s cafeteria,” according to the O.C. Register.

Unbelievable!  This is 100% censorship and it is an unconscionable abridgment of free speech rights.  And the experts agree.   “Two leading authorities on the First Amendment rights of student journalists say that administrators at the Orange County High School of the Arts crossed a legal line,” according to the O.C. Register.

More after the flip…it turns out the food vendor has received O.C. health violations!

The fact is, Erickson was right – the school, which is a public school, did pick a wacky religious Falsely representing self to officer.”outfit to run their cafeteria.  Students and parents deserve to know how this vendor was picked.

And the news gets even worse for OCHSA.  I looked up the owner of Alegre Foods, Otto Penarredonda.  I found a guy by that name who was arrested in 2004, here in Orange County, for “False evidence of registration with intent to defraud,” and “Falsely representing self to officer.”  He was sentenced to 30 days Service in lieu of jail and 3 years probation.

In 2007, the same guy was busted again, this time for “unsafe speed for prevailing conditions.”

This year, in July, Penarredonda and his fellow company officers were sued for breach of contract/warranty by a guy named Tim Ho.

And there is even worse news.  I searched on the Orange County Health Department’s resataurant/food service inspection website and found two private schools, at churches, where Alegre Food was issued citations for numerous health violations, including: lack of certified food safety person; evidence of vermin activity; unsanitary equipment; lack of food thermometer; low hot water; lack of handwashing; inappropriate sanitizer level; improper food storage; lack of or unsanitary conditions; inadequate hygiene; and facility not fully enclosed.

Why did OCHSA pick Alegre Foods as their cafetaria vendor?  Why did the Principal overreact when the student reporter called out this vendor?  Why hasn’t this Principal been reprimanded?  These are good questions.  To email the Board of OCHSA click here.

One more question – what sort of art school practices censorship?  Answer – not one I would want my kids to be involved in.

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.