The entire school board of one California school district has quit after their comments trashing parents were captured on video.
The Oakley Union Elementary School District school board president, Lisa Brizendine, was the first to resign, followed by fellow board members Kim Beede, Erica Ippolito and Richie Masadas, according to Fox News.
The trustees were waiting for the official start of the meeting when talk turned to parents who had written letters or social media posts pushing for schools to reopen, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
“It’s easy to hide behind their screen but when you’re face to face with people, it’s a whole different ball game,” Masadas said, according to a YouTube video of the call taken by an anonymous listener.
Beede then pushed back against criticism from parents that she went to a party, even though she opposes putting students and teachers back in classrooms.
Warning: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers will find offensive.
“I wasn’t doing anything bad,” Beede said. “I honestly don’t care about that part, but, you know what … are we alone?”
Other board members mumbled their affirmation that they believed they were the only ones present on the call.
Does anyone in education actually care about the students?
“Bi—, if you’re going to call me out, I’m going to f— you up,” Beede continued, to the general laughter of her colleagues. “Sorry, that’s just me.”
Brizendine then said parents were only interested in themselves, not their children.
“They forget that there’s real people on the other side of those letters that they’re writing,” she said. “We’re real community members. We have kids or have known kids that have gone to these schools. Having a vested interest in this process and they don’t know what we do behind the scenes, and it’s really unfortunate they want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back.”
Masadas then said parents want alone time to enjoy marijuana.
“My brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana. The high clientele were parents with their kids in school,” he said to laughter from the group.
“When you got your kids at home, no more puff-puff,” Masadas said.
A few moments later, board members learned they had been live the entire time, and the feed ended.
Once the video went viral, the members were deluged with calls to resign. Those who were caught on the video apologized.
“I am raising a 10-year-old with special needs and having him home during this pandemic, while also holding down two jobs to support my family has been a huge stress,” Brizendine said, according to Fox News.
“I suffer with many of the same things that parents are going through from mental health issues to regression. My remark was callous and uncalled for and for that I am truly sorry.”
“We deeply regret the earlier comments that were made in the meeting of the Board of Education earlier this week,” a joint statement from Beede, Ippolito and Masadas read, Mercury News reported.
“As trustees, we realize it is our responsibility to model the conduct that we expect of our students and staff, and it is our obligation to build confidence in district leadership; our comments failed you in both regards, and for this we offer our sincerest apology.”
“The comments made were not in alignment with our vision and are definitely not what any of us stand for as leaders. I know that we lost trust with the community. I will not make excuses for what happened or why it happened,” the schools’ superintendent, Greg Hetrick, told Fox News in a statement.
Members of the county school board will fill in until the local district can find new board members, according to Mercury News.
“As a district, we will continue to proceed with the work that we are engaged in to bring our students back to school,” Hetrick said. “There will be a lot of details in the coming days about what will be taking place and I will be providing you with a complete update.”
Parent Ashley Stalf, who has a 6-year-old daughter in the district, told Fox News the incident raised suspicions of what else could be going on.
“What are their true intentions,” Stalf wondered, “if they feel so freely that they can talk, you know, on a mic that may or may not be hot, what’s truly being said behind closed doors?”
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