Parents of children enrolled in a California public school are calling on the district’s board members to resign after they were caught on video using expletives while speaking about parents and reopening classrooms, ABC 7 reported.
Some members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Education thought they were speaking in a private virtual meeting, but after several remarks about parents were made, the members realized the meeting was public and parents were listening in, according to ABC 7.
One school board trustee, Kim Beede, used expletives when referring to a social media post, presumably one that was a letter about school reopenings. After Richie Masadas, another trustee, commented on how easy it is for people to hide behind a screen when talking to the board, Beede referred to the post. “[Expletive,] if you’re going to call me out, I’m going to [expletive] you up,” Beede said. “Sorry, that’s just me.”
The board was previously discussing a potential new strategy during meetings that would limit the public’s ability to comment to three minutes, and would require parents and other members of the public to call in to the district’s tech department to record the message that would be played at meetings instead of letting them speak live. (RELATED: Dr. Anthony Fauci Says Vaccinating All Teachers As A Prerequisite For Reopening Schools Is A ‘Nonworkable Situation’)
Another trustee, Lisa Brizendine, commented after Beede that the public forgets that there are real people on the other side of the letters that they’re writing.
“We’re real community members, we have kids, have known kids who have gone to these schools, we have a vested interest in this process. And they don’t know what we are behind the scenes, and it’s really unfortunate that they want to pick on us. They want their babysitters back.”
Masadas then talked about how his brother has a delivery service for medical marijuana, and parents who have kids at school are part of his clientele.
As of Thursday morning, more than 500 people have signed the Change.org petition demanding that the board resign because of their behavior during the meeting. The goal is to reach 1,000 signatures.
“They did not realize they were being broadcast and that the public could hear them,” the petition said. “During that time board members decided to speak in a VERY disrespectful way about parents in the school district, including using profanity, speaking about parents using marijuana, and that parents just wanted their babysitters back.”
“Parents were tuned in to learn if we will be sending our kids back to school soon and if not, why. There has been a lack of communication from the board and this was the first communication we heard.”
“My kids deserve better than this violence and uncaring bunch of bullies,” a parent commented on the petition.
“As a parent and resident of Oakley, this lack of professionalism is appalling,” another commenter wrote. “We understand the board is under lots of pressure, but we expect professionalism and solutions to be discussed during closed sessions. Not what we witnessed. The board members need to be held accountable for their actions.”
Beede, Brizendine and Masadas did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
According to a late January letter to the community from Greg D. Hetrick, the district’s superintendent, families were told to expect full remote instruction in the following weeks as the school prepares sites for hybrid in-person learning.