An entire school board in a district in California stepped down after making snide comments about parents while in a Webex online meeting. They did not know they were already live and that some parents had joined the call.
Lisa Brizendine, Oakley Union Elementary School District president, resigned Friday, followed by Board members Richie Masadas, Kim Beede, and Erica Ippolito. In a report published by The Verge, the Webex online meeting happened on Wednesday to discuss distance learning with parents. Unaware that they were already live and that parents were listening in, some board members started making remarks on video, mocking parents, and making claims that they wanted schools to reopen so they can go back to "smoking pot."
Another board member remarked that parents wanted schools to reopen because the teachers act as "babysitters" for their children. One of the parents apparently recorded the ongoing conversation and posted it online. It went viral after that, with most parents signing a petition on Change.org asking for the entire school board's resignation.
In a series of tweets with attached videos posted by Bigad Shabad, an NBC News Bay Area reporter, you can hear board member Kim Beede during the live conference asking her colleagues if they are "alone." When other members replied they were, the board member started to pretend to threaten parents who wrote them asking schools to reopen. "B**ch, if you are going to call me out I am going to f**k you up! Sorry! That's just me," Beede reportedly stated in a joking manner while the board members laughed.
Brizendine, president of the school board, then chimed in, implying that some parents might see teachers as their personal 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 stated during the online meeting.
A third board member identified as Richie Masadas, also made his own remarks, suggesting that perhaps parents wanted schools to reopen so they could have their drugs without interruption. "My brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana and he delivered to parents while their kids were at school," Masadas said during the meeting as other members of the school board listened.
Parents who joined the call and were silent all throughout the conversation recorded the online meeting and despite the board members' claims that they were only joking, parents are not laughing. Irate parents started a Change.org petition, asking the entire board to immediately step down or face a recall action. On Friday, the members of the school board did just that.
Greg Hetrick, the Schools Superintendent, announced the resignations on Friday. Earlier, the Schools Superintendent also issued an apology, saying that the comments made were truly inappropriate. "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. These comments are not typical and more importantly, they are not what the community should expect from our school district," Hetrick said.