Oakley

Entire Calif. School Board Out After Bashing Parents on Accidental Zoom Broadcast

Members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District board of trustees used profanity to refer to parents

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Members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees resigned Friday after they were caught on camera bashing parents before a virtual school board meeting Wednesday.

In a letter to school district families, Superintendent Greg D. Hetrick said Friday that board members Kim Beede, Erica Ippolito, Richie Masadas submitted their resignation, joining former president Lisa Brizendine.

"As a District, we will continue to proceed with the work that we are engaged in to bring our students back to school," said Hetrick. "There will be a lot of details in the coming days about what will be taking place and I will be providing you with a complete update."

One member said parents want schools to reopen because they want their babysitters back and another used profanity while reacting to online comments made about her.

Brizendine stepped down Thusday, but on Friday the tearful public apologies board members delivered at the end of Wednesday's meeting became public.

Pressure is mounting Friday for more Oakley Unified School District Board members to step down and now the city's mayor is also calling on them to resign. Jodi Hernandez reports.

“I am going to try really hard to get through this without crying,” said Beede. “I was frustrated and I apologize for that. I apologize everybody had to hear that but again it was supposed to be a private conversation and I want to make sure everyone knows everybody is here for the best interest of the students.”

Brizendine said, “We were having a private conversation because we were really struggling at that moment with all the board comments coming in because we want what’s best for the kids so badly.”

The mayor of Oakley called on the rest of the board to resign and a protest was also being organized Saturday to demand the board resign or be recalled.

Beede, Ippolito and Masadas asked the following statement be shared with the Oakley community:

We deeply regret the 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.

We love our students, our teachers and our community, and we want to be part of the remedy to help the District move forward, returning its full focus to students’ needs. To help facilitate the healing process, we will be resigning our positions as Trustees of the Oakley Union Elementary School District, effective immediately. The Superintendent will be working with the Contra Costa County Office of Education to address the vacancies on the Board of Education.

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 judgment cast a shadow on the exceptional work that our teachers, administrators and hard-working employees are doing for the students of this District. They deserve and will need your support as you move forward.

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