Junipero Serra High to shed name
Capistrano district school not to be confused with JSerra High

2020-10-03T12:10:02-07:00October 4th, 2020|Education|

Capistrano Unified School District leaders are considering changing the name of one of the district’s oldest campuses, its continuation school, Junipero Serra High School.

Serra, an 18th century Spanish priest, founded many of California’s Catholic missions, but as a Sept. 23 report to the school board said, descendants of the Mission Indians consider Serra and the institutions he guided to be “brutal and patriarchal” and “responsible for the suppression of native culture.”

The school board has created a committee to consider the name change. Located in San Juan Capistrano, home to one of the missions Serra helped establish, the school is sometimes confused with nearby JSerra Catholic High.

“While the Catholics, of course, revere him as a saint, a lot of the Native American families feel differently,” Trustee Gila Jones said at the recent school board meeting. “(They) feel their culture was destroyed by the mission system and Saint Serra, and are disturbed by the continual memorialization of the name.”

Before voting to form the committee, the board received support from the district’s Native American Education Program, a federally funded program that supports students of Native American Indian heritage.

Olivia Fu, a member of the student-led CUSD Against Racism, also voiced her support at the meeting.

“Junipero Serra, while certainly a significant figure in California’s history, was still a colonist whose legacy was devastating to native communities,” she told the board.

The trustees agreed the committee should review the district’s naming policy before beginning its work, and that students should be involved in the process.

“We will utilize the process the district has in place and make sure we are speaking with all stakeholders,” district spokesman Ryan Burris said Thursday, Oct. 1….

JSerra Catholic High hasn’t publicly expressed plans for changing its name.

“Despite the calls across the state to strike the name of Junipero Serra from buildings and topple statues erected in his honor, we at JSerra proudly stand behind the legacy of our patron saint,” school President Rich Meyer said on Thursday.

“While no man here on earth is perfect, the Catholic church continues to hold in the highest regard Junipero Serra and sees his love for the indigenous people of California as an example of authentic charity and a life of service dedicated to the well-being of others….”

The above comes from an Oct. 2 story in the Orange County Register.


  1. Deacon Craig Anderson October 4, 2020 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Is this historical ignorance on the part of “educators” or bigotry or both?
    Do they know the district is named after Saint John of Capistrano, another Franciscan priest?

  2. Deacon Craig Anderson October 4, 2020 at 9:45 am - Reply

    For readers who live in the district, I urge you to contact your school board members.

    And, for your edification and their education, Archbishop Cordileone recommends a book by two Santa Clara University scholars Robert M. Senkewicz and Rose Marie Beebe titled “Junipero Serra – California, Indians and the Transformation of a Missionary.” (2015)

    Many, including Pope Francis, have praised Saint Junipero for his vigorous defense of native peoples.

  3. John Higgins October 5, 2020 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Sinking to the level of dishonoring Hispanics, I see.

    The school district hasn’t a clue!

  4. Robert Zimmerman October 5, 2020 at 9:56 am - Reply

    Amen – What a total absurdity. Unfortunately I find the Catholic Church leaders joining in on its destruction.

    • Julia October 5, 2020 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      Sadly, Robert, our leaders didn’t do anything (and they have staff in Sacramento – the Ca Catholic Conference) when the state radically rewrote the K-12 History/Social Science curriculum frameworks in 2016, so that the missions are now taught to 4th graders as nothing more than forced labor camps. (Among many other terrible changes to the curriculum…) Of the 6 million CA children in public schools, almost 50% are Hispanic. And of that group, how many of those are Catholic? Tragically, they will learn about the Catholic history of this state from those intent on destroying the Church.

  5. Hymie October 5, 2020 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Actually the descendants of Mission Indians have all assimilated for the most part, first to Spanish culture, then to American culture. What you’re seeing is the dregs of government funded programs, started in the 1960s and 70s, which support idleness, dysfunction, and criminality, fostering dependency.

    Notice “Before voting to form the committee, the board received support from the district’s Native American Education Program, a federally funded program that supports students of Native American Indian heritage.”

  6. June October 5, 2020 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    What a crock it is to spend money we do not have (thanks in great part to our Governor) to pander to the communist BLM founders and supporters which this is just mirroring, Please, taxpayers, pay careful notice as to who votes for this atrocity.

  7. Cal A. Bacitas October 6, 2020 at 10:20 am - Reply

    new name:

    “Generic Continuation School”

  8. Chardin October 9, 2020 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    If they think their culture was destroyed by the mission system, they’d really be unhappy with what the Spanish colonialists would have done without it

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