This seems like a shame — a shame that it didn’t include the resignation of the entire board. Oakley’s school board made national news when a parent recorded what members thought was a private conversation, and captured the board’s contempt for parents anxious to get their children back in school. Board president Lisa Brizendine resigned last night after declaring that parents only “want their baby sitters back”:
President of the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees has resigned after being caught on video making disparaging comments about parents during a live public meeting Wednesday night.
Lisa Brizendine, the now former board president, was swiftly removed from the district’s website after news of her resignation was released to the public Thursday evening.
“They’re not taking us seriously,” one parent told NBC News. That lesson came through loud and clear in the pre-meeting chatter. This is a real-life example of the “Uncle Don” urban legend, in which previously masked contempt for one’s constituents/audience gets revealed thanks to the incompetence of the perpetrator. This never actually happened on air (or at least has never been substantiated), but now we have its perfect and factual replacement.
Just on incompetence alone, the rest of the board should follow Brizendine out the door. One has to believe that the unmasked contempt will likely be more of the catalyst at this point. Or at least we should hope something pushes these petty brahmins into heading for the exit on their own rather than getting the heave-ho from the parents they clearly despise. And make no mistake, those parents are looking for the quickest way to run off the rest of the board:
Not realizing that they had an audience, the school board members also discussed Oakley Union District Superintendent Greg Hetrick’s suggestion that parents making public comments could be cut off “mid-sentence” if they go on for more than three minutes.
“I think that would be amazing,” said Kim Beede, the trustee who can also be heard pledging to mess with critics in a profane tirade.
The fallout from the leaked video was swift. According to KTVU, parents protested with a “Zoom out” and kept their children out of remote classes on Thursday. Later that day, Brizendine resigned. An online petition calling for the other board members to follow suit or be recalled had received more than 4,200 signatures by early Friday.
“I thought the board members were also advocates for my child and had her best interests at heart. After last night’s incident, it really has me thinking that they don’t,” said Ashley Stalf, an Oakley Union parent, told KGO. “They see us writing letters monthly, weekly, to the board members, detailing our stresses and grief about distance learning. For them to say we are doing nothing and sitting home and smoking pot is far from the truth.”
The Change.org petition has hit nearly 4700 signers as of 9:35 am ET this morning, with a target of 5,000. Clearly not all of these are from the Oakley district, but it’s also clear that the outrage over the board’s contempt for the parents they are supposed to serve will not soon evaporate.
Update: The rest of the board — save for one member who did not participate in the call — have now resigned as well:
Not just the board pres anymore
— Kevin Tierney (@CatholicSmark) February 20, 2021
The resigning board members will stay on as interim members, but only until new members get appointed. If it’s easier, read Hetrick’s statement here.