Four members of a northern-California school board resigned on Friday, after they mocked parents who pushed to reopen district schools.
The comments by members of the Oakley Union Elementary School Board were recorded by parents during a virtual board meeting, and the members were unaware that their microphones were on. The San Francisco Bay–area district is one of many across the country that remain closed for in-person learning due to coronavirus restrictions.
Parents “want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back,” board president Lisa Brizendine said at the meeting. Trustee Richie Masadas joked that “my brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana and his clientele were parents with their kids at school.”
Kim Beede, another trustee, asked, “Are we alone?” before joking about what she would say if a parent complained directly to her.
“B****, if you’re going to call me out, I’m going to f*** you up,” Beede said, to laughter from other board members. “Sorry, that’s just me!”
The three board members resigned on Friday, along with another trustee, Erica Ippolito. Brizendine apologized for the incident in a statement to KTVU, the local Fox News affiliate.
“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,” Brizendine 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.”
District superintendent Greg Hetrick, who was present at the virtual meeting, also apologized to parents.
“I will not make excuses for what happened or why it happened. I am the superintendent. I am responsible and accountable and I am truly sorry for what took place,” Hetrick told NBC. “I know that our students deserve better from us.”
The U.S. has struggled to reopen schools during the pandemic, including in large cities such as San Francisco and Chicago. The San Francisco school district may not reopen for in-person learning for the rest of the school year, a district spokeswoman told NPR on Friday.