An entire school board has resigned days after members joked about parents in a virtual meeting being broadcast to the public.
On Wednesday (February 17), the Oakley Union Elementary School Board conducted an online call with parents via Webex to discuss plans for children to return to school amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Before the meeting officially began, completely unaware that the call was already public and their conversation could be seen and heard, the members of the board spoke among themselves where they made jokes about the parents at the school.
One board member named Kim Beede could be heard criticising a parent who called her out on social media for attending a party during the pandemic.
“B**ch, if you are going to call me out I am going to f**k you up! Sorry! That’s just me,” Beede said.
Another board member, Lisa Brizendine, also suggested parents see teachers as babysitters.
“They don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. It’s really unfortunate they want to pick on us. They want their babysitters back,” Brizendine said.
A third board member, Richie Masadas, then implied parents want their children back in schools so they can take drugs while the kids aren’t at home.
Masadas said: “My brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana and he delivered to parents while their kids were at school.”
The members laughed among themselves as they made these comments but the parents who heard the conversation were definitely less amused, with a petition for the board to resign attracting thousands of signatures.
On Friday (February 19), following Brizendine’s resignation on Thursday, the district superintendent, Greg Hetrick, announced the resignations of Beede, Masadas and Erica Ippolito. He added that Contra Costa county education board members would step in on an interim basis.
“We deeply regret the earlier comments that were made in the meeting of the board of education earlier this week,” Beede, Massadas and Ippolito said in a statement.
“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.”
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