comscore Entire Oakley, Calif., school board resigns after members are caught mocking parents on livestream | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
News

Entire Oakley, Calif., school board resigns after members are caught mocking parents on livestream

“Uh-oh.”

That was what one member of the board in charge of elementary and middle schools in Oakley, California, uttered Wednesday afternoon when she realized her online conversation with other members had been broadcast to the public.

The members had spent two minutes mocking parents, suggesting they wanted teachers back in school so they could have “their babysitters back” and go back to smoking marijuana.

The entire time, parents who had logged in for the regular twice-monthly meeting of the board had been listening. The response to the board members’ comments was swift and furious.

Thousands of people signed an online petition calling for the resignation of all four board members, who were heard laughing and jeering at parents.

On Friday, the district superintendent, Greg Hetrick, announced that all four members, including the president, Lisa Brizendine, had resigned from the board of trustees. A fifth member had stepped down from the board in January, so the resignations left the board entirely without trustees.

Three members, Kim Beede, Richie Masadas and Erica Ippolito, said in a statement that they “deeply regret the comments” and were resigning to “help facilitate the healing process.”

The members did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Saturday. The president of the Contra Costa County Office of Education may appoint new members until new ones are elected or appointed.

The district has more than 470 employees and about 5,000 students in nine elementary and middle schools throughout Oakley, a city of about 42,000 people 40 miles northeast of Oakland.

Students in the district have been learning remotely since last March. Before the meeting, parents had submitted letters to the board asking for more transparency, expressing their frustration and voicing concerns that their children were suffering as a result of remote learning.

On Wednesday, the trustees started venting to one another about the negative feedback they said they had been getting and began making jokes.

Moments later, Beede informed the board members that they were already live before the public.

By Saturday afternoon, more than 6,600 people had signed a petition that threatened to recall the trustees if they did not resign.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (10)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up