The Oakley, CA, school board found themselves in a lot of trouble after a video emerged of them mocking parents who want their children back in the classroom.

“It’s really unfortunate that they want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back,” whined Lisa Brizendine, the Oakley Union Elementary School Board president.

Yeah, the board members thought it was a private meeting.

It was open to the public.

Oakley is one area that does not have in-person teaching, which has caused tensions between teachers and parents.

Vaccines? The CDC said vaccinations are not a prerequisite for a teacher to get back in the classroom. Guidelines? I don’t know about Oakley, but other places agreed to have health screenings, require masks and social distancing, and have constant cleaning going on during the day.

Brizendine is not the only one who badmouthed the parents. (By the way, it took eight minutes for Brizendine and the others to realize that they were not alone.) From Politico:

In another exchange about social media criticism the schools board has faced, Oakley Union trustee Kim Beede goes on a profanity-laced rant about an unidentified critic after asking her fellow board members, “Are we alone?”

“Bitch, if you’re going to call me out, I’m gonna f— you up,” Beede said, laughing with other members. “Sorry, that’s just me.”

The video was captured on a cell phone, whose time shows the discussion occurred about 10 minutes before Wednesday’s scheduled 4 p.m. open session. Board members also discussed the organizational structure for the meeting.

School board member Richie Masadas insinuates on the call that parents are frustrated with distance learning because they aren’t able to smoke marijuana as much. Masadas says he knows a medical marijuana deliveryman, “and the clientele were parents with their kids in school.” His comments are received with hearty laughter, as Masadas says parents are frustrated they can no longer “smoke up” without in-person instruction as an option.

Masadas also says of the school board’s critics that “it’s easy to hide behind their screens” and “when you’re face-to-face with people, it’s a whole different ballgame.”

Beede is notified that the meeting is being recorded live, then says, “Uh-oh.” The board members then scramble to turn off their videos, as Brizendine says “Nuh-uh.”

“Great,” another says.

Oakley Union Superintendent Greg Hetrick was on the call but rarely jumped in.

He provided an apology:

“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. We all take pride in the Vision of the Oakley Union Elementary School District in that we are “A diverse learning community committed to educating and empowering today’s learners and tomorrow’s leaders in a safe and inclusive environment.” 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. I am the superintendent. I am responsible and accountable and I am truly sorry for what took place. I have been and continue to be committed to working together for the betterment of the Oakley Union Elementary School District students, staff and entire school community. I know that our students deserve better from us. I pledge to work collaboratively with stakeholders and community members to begin doing the important work that is needed to rebuild community trust in our district.”

I didn’t go to college for four years to be a teacher. (Yes, I used to teach 9th grade English).

Those four years include one semester of observation and spending your senior year student teaching. I had to take a class on special education for a semester. You get assigned to observe a special needs student inside and outside the classroom.

Having that degree and training is not enough. You then have to take tests to get a license to teach in the state.

In other words, it takes a lot to be a teacher.

Kids are having mental health problems. Suicides have gone up. Study after study has also shown that kids losing a year in education will affect their future salary-wise. How about kids who do not have access to the internet or computers?

These teachers work at an elementary school. Do you know what is crucial in elementary school? Being social, especially in the younger years. Preschool, pre-kindergarten, and even kindergarten are essential to a child’s ability to practice simple, but significant, social behaviors: sharing, politeness, how to act in front of people, etc.

The social aspect is important throughout school, but especially at the elementary level.

As of writing this article, almost 3,500 people have signed a petition demanding the board members resign or be recalled:

Parents were tuned in to learn if we will be sending our kids back to school soon and if not, why. There has been a lack of communication from the board and this was the first communication we heard.

A recall would cost the district money that should be going to the kids. I am asking that the board members to resign immediately due to their egregious behavior. They should no longer represent the parents, teachers, and children in this school district.

“I was shocked to hear the district is representing our children this way,” Jennifer Cardinale told ABC 7.

Cardinale described Beede’s comments about f*cking up parents as “appalling.”

Ashley Stalf “thought the board members” had her child’s “best interests at heart” and they “were also advocates” for her.

Update: Brizendine resigns



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