The president and three other members of a Northern California school board resigned Friday after reports that they made mocking comments about parents during a public video meeting about reopening schools.
The resignation of President Lisa Brizendine of the Oakley Union Elementary School District was confirmed to Fox News by Schools Superintendent Greg Hetrick.
The other members — Kim Beede, Erica Ippolito and Richie Masadas — who constitute the rest of the board, resigned later Friday, FOX 2 of the Bay Area reported.
Hetrick had issued an apology Thursday for what he described as board members’ “truly inappropriate comments,” which were made during a virtual meeting Wednesday. A group published a video of the meeting that showed board members complaining about parents wanting teachers to return to classrooms.
“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,” Hetrick told Fox News in a statement.
He continued: “I have been and continue to be committed to working together for the betterment of the Oakley Union Elementary School District students, staff and entire school community.”
Brizendine issued an apology after announcing her resignation. “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,” she said. “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.”
The recorded meeting from Wednesday night was posted on social media and shows board members who appeared to believe the meeting was private. Brizendine appeared to mock parents who “want their babysitters back.”
“They forget there’s real people on the other side of those letters that they’re writing. … They don’t know what we know behind the scenes, and it’s really unfortunate they want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back,” she said. Other board members piled on, appearing to dismiss parents’ concerns.
“If you’re gonna call me out, I’m gonna f— you up,” one board member is heard saying.
The video drew a reaction earlier Friday from parent Ashley Stalf, whose 6-year-old daughter attends school in the district. She called the board’s comments “heartbreaking” during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
“We meet regularly with the board as parents and we’re constantly sending in letters and emails and telling them our griefs and our strife’s over distance learning,” Stalf told Steve Doocy.
“It seems as of late that they mocked us, that we’re just complaining and we have nothing better to do.”
Stalf said parents now wonder what teachers and board members say about them in private.
“What are their true intentions, 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?” said Stalf.
The video circulated online after being posted by an account called “Reopen California Schools,” prompting an online petition for the board members to resign.
The president of the Contra Costa County Board of Education will likely appoint interim board members until new ones are elected or appointed, FOX 2 reported.
The original video:
This is an excerpt from Fox News.
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