Homeowners association in California confiscates graduation yard signs, upsetting kids and parents

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS/CNN) - A community is upset because the graduation signs they put up in their yards were taken down by a homeowners association.

A homeowners association confiscated signs that were placed in yards, saying such signs violated community rules. (Source: Sofia Muratalla/KCAL/KCBS/CNN)

“It was literally right here with the flowers,” Santa Margarita High School senior Sofia Muratalla said.

There hasn’t been much celebrating for her, but the graduation sign in her front yard brought her joy during an otherwise difficult time.

“We put it up and were so excited," Muratalla said. "You walk around your neighborhood and get excited to see which school each of the seniors are from. There’s fifth-graders that are graduating from elementary school and the eighth-graders.”

The fun ended recently though after several of the students’ signs disappeared from inside of the Gates of Mirasol - a townhome community with HOA regulations enforced by a board of directors.

“They either walked around and took them down or had the security company do it,” said a concerned father, who didn’t want his name used, who says his son’s school sign is now gone from his front yard.

On Zoom, during a virtual HOA meeting Monday night, his wife asked where the signs were. According to the homeowner, a board member admitted that they were taken down because placement in the common areas violates the HOA rules.

“I don’t really see how this bothers anyone. It’s not like politically biased in any way. It doesn’t harm anyone. It doesn’t make sense to me as to why they would do that,” Muratalla said.

The property manager said, “The board of directors has no comment on this matter other than to say that the signs will be returned to the respective owners upon request.”

“It’s just ridiculous, cold and cruel, and we should be coming together as a community right now, not finding ways to pick fights.” a concerned resident said.

His 11-year-old’s sign is gone, but the fifth-grader’s little brother felt so bad, he came up with his own sign and hung it on the garage. It even says, “Do not remove.”

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