Entire school board resigns after mocking parents

Andrew Cummings
February 21, 2021

All four members of the Oakley Elementary School District Board of Trustees resigned after mocking parents in what they thought was a private meeting.

In another exchange about social media criticism the school board has faced, Oakley Union trustee Kim Beede goes on a profanity-laced rant about an unidentified critic after asking her fellow board members, "Are we alone?" "My remark was callous and uncalled for and for that I am truly sorry".

School board member Richie Masadas also suggests parents are frustrated with distance learning because they can't smoke marijuana as much, recounting that he knows a medical marijuana deliveryman, "and the clientele were parents with their kids in school".

Board member Lisa Brizendine then implied that some parents think of teachers as their personal babysitters.

But parents who have obtained footage of the meeting certainly aren't laughing.

"This was a hard decision, but we hear the community's concerns, and we believe yielding to your request that we step down will allow the district to move forward", they said. "The students, staff and families deserve the very best, there is much work that needs to be done to reopen our schools safely and I will be praying that we as a community can move past this incident together and that our children always remain in focus".

'A recall would cost the district money that should be going to the kids.

The accidental "hot mic" moment on Wednesday night laid bare the heightened tensions between elected officials who are under growing pressure to reopen schools and parents who have now spent almost a year juggling work and child care.

Will said the prolonging of school closures because of the coronavirus is a "fear a lot of parents have".

More than 2,500 parents have so far signed the petition.

According to East County Today, on Thursday the superintendent of the Oakley school district issued a statement after the video was released and the board members' comments about parents and reopening schools were made public. It's really unfortunate they want to pick on us.

"Last night at the Oakley Union Elementary School District Regular Board Meeting there were unfortunate and truly inappropriate comments made that were heard by many", Hetrick said in the statement cited by the NBC affiliate.

Parents took umbrage with the comments as students in the school district, which is located in Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay area, have been learning remote for nearly a year amid the coronavirus pandemic. The comments made were not in alignment with our vision and are definitely not what any of us stand for as leaders.

"One of my biggest concerns is, we see this being dragged out longer and longer to [the point] where I have the concern of - by the time my kids are ready to go in next year - is school going to be back to normal?" I pledge to work collaboratively with stakeholders and community members to begin doing the important work that is needed to rebuild community trust in our district'.

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