We've all had a video call faux pas at some point — but the school board of a school district in San Francisco are living proof you should always be careful about what you say.
Members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District board of trustees in California were caught bad mouthing the parents of their students during a Zoom meeting, after it was accidentally broadcast to the public.
In the meeting, several members were recorded making rude comments about parents of the school district, which has around 5000 students. Apparently, they thought the meeting was still on private mode.
"They want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back," President Lisa Brizendine said during the meeting, in reference to the parents that are pushing for in-school learning rather than continuing with virtual school.
1) When officials at the Oakley Union Elem. School district thought they were meeting privately, they used profanity to insult & threaten parents upset by the district's prolonged school closures.— Bigad Shaban (@BigadShaban) February 18, 2021
Here's when they realized their mtg was being broadcast to the public.
"Uh, oh." pic.twitter.com/OXbHWq9FMy
""B---h, if you're going to call me out, I'm going to f--k you up," another trustee, Kim Beede said, talking about parents who try to criticise her online.
"My brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana and his clientele were parents of kids at school," added Richie Masadas, another school board member.
Beede eventually realised the meeting was open to the public, with a panciked: "Uh-oh. We have the meeting open to the public right now."
The meeting was then switched to private mode.
The district superintendent, Greg Hetrick later issued a statement, apologising for the comments.
2) Before she realized the public was listening in, School Board President Lisa Brizendine criticized parents who continue to be frustrated by the district's Covid-related school closures:— Bigad Shaban (@BigadShaban) February 18, 2021
"They want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back."@nbcbayarea pic.twitter.com/Z0jaRQWKn9
"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," Hetrick said in the statement. "These comments are not typical and more importantly they are not what the community should expect from our school district."
"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," he continued.
"I am the superintendent. I am responsible and accountable and I am truly sorry for what took place. I know that our students deserve better from us."
3) School Board Trustee Richie Masadas then appeared to link parents' frustration over close closures to drug use.— Bigad Shaban (@BigadShaban) February 18, 2021
"My brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana and his clientele were parents of kids at school."@nbcbayarea pic.twitter.com/vgAhY90lmG
A petition soon circulated, with over 7,000 people calling for the trustees to resign.
"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 behaviour," the petition read. "They should no longer represent the parents, teachers, and children in this school district."
Beede, Masadas and Erica Ippolito, said in a statement to the school district's families that they "deeply regret the comments that were made," adding they failed to fulfill their "responsibility to model the conduct that we expect of our students and staff."