Always be aware of when you’re starting to feel a little too bold with technology. These San Francisco Bay Area board members learned the hard way what happens when you’re not watching how you conduct yourself during virtual meetings. Four members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board stepped down after they were caught making bad comments about parents on a public meeting.
Northern California School Board Members Resign After Making Disparaging Comments About Parents
Board President Lisa Brizendine, along with board members Kim Beede, Erica Ippolito, and Richie Masadas resigned on Friday after their board meeting on Wednesday sparked outrage. Before the meeting began, they had no idea that the public could see and hear what they thought was a private conversation, using profanity and making jokes about the parents. Beede was talking about how a parent came after her on social media for going to a party during the coronavirus pandemic after she had said it wasn’t safe to go back to in-person learning, saying, “I wasn’t doing anything bad — I honestly don’t care about that part — but are we alone?”
She asked told her colleagues, “Btch, …If you call me out, I’m going to fck you up. Sorry, that’s just me.”
Brizendine chimed in after the laugher from Beede’s comments, claiming parents just wanted school re-openings so that they can have their “babysitters” back. Masadas then made a joke about marijuana, saying that parents wanted their free time for other reasons. He said while chuckling, “My brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana. The high clientele were the parents with their kids at school. When you have your kids at home, no more (inaudible).”
Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees Meeting
Their comments were met with immediate condemnation, with everyone, from community members even to Oakley’s mayor, calling for them to resign. A petition for their resignation was quickly signed with thousands of signatures, and even though they have resigned, they have not been able to escape national attention.
Greg Hetrick, the district’s superintendent, announced the resignation in a letter on Friday and stated that Contra Costa County education board members will replace them in the meantime. In a joint statement, the board members said, “We deeply regret the earlier comments that were made in the meeting of the Board of Education earlier this week. 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.”
Big yikes. People will always be talking some sort of smack about each other, but maybe just watch where you’re doing it and who you’re doing it with. Or better yet, just keep your negative comments to yourself — especially when your profession means watching children. Not calling teachers babysitters, but don’t complain that you have to watch kids all day when your occupation literally requires you to do so.