The president and several other members of a California school board have resigned over comments made about parents on a Zoom call.
School superintendent Greg Hetrick confirmed with Fox News that president Lisa Brizendine and three other members of the Oakley Union Elementary School Board of Trustees in Northern California stepped down over the “truly inappropriate comments” made in a discussion about a potential return to school.
The conversation turned to complaints made by parents on social media about the board.
Board member Richie Masadas said: "It’s easy to hide behind their screen, but when you’re face to face with people, it’s a little different ball game."
“Are we alone?” colleague Kim Beede asked, before adding in jest: B****, if you’re going to call me out, I’m going to f*** you up.”
Brizendine then said: “You know, they forget that there are real people on the other side of those letters that they’re writing. We’re real community members. We have kids or have known kids who have gone to these schools. We have a vested interest in this process. They don’t know what we do behind the scenes and it’s really unfortunate that they want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back.”
Masadas added that his brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana and that the clientele was “parents with their kids in school”.
The board members later realised the meeting was open to the public.
Videos of the conversation were posted online by a group called Reopen California Schools, which for months has been lobbying for a full return to school in California despite the state recording an average of over 6,600 new COVID-19 cases and over 320 new deaths each day over the past week.
That group set up a petition calling for the board of trustees to resign, which amassed over 7,400 signatures.
In a statement, superintendent Hetrick said: “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.”
Brizendine apologised for her comments and, in a statement to KTVU, added: "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.
"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."
In a written statement, Masadas and Beede, along with fellow board member Erica Ippolito, said they regretted the comments.
“This was a difficult 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. Please do not let our failure in judgement cast a shadow on the exceptional work that our teachers, administrators and hard-working employees are doing for the students of this District.”Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]