Entire California school board resigns after disparaging comments caught on open mic

OAKLEY, Calif. — Every member of a California school board district resigned after they were heard making disparaging comments about parents during a meeting without realizing it was being broadcast to the public at the time.

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Three members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board stepped down Friday amid growing outrage after the comments made at the Wednesday meeting, the Mercury News reported. Board president Lisa Brizendine announced her resignation Thursday.

The members were speaking candidly using profanity and making jokes about parents before the meeting started, unaware they were being broadcast.

Now ex-board members Kim Beede, Erica Ippolito, Richie Masadas and Brizendine were discussing letters and social media posts from parents about reopening schools. Beede started talking about a parent who berated her on social media for going to a party after saying it was not safe for students to attend school.

“I wasn’t doing anything bad — I honestly don’t care about that part — but are we alone?” Beede asked the others. “B—-, ..If you call me out, I’m going to (expletive) you up.”

Beede added: “Sorry that’s just me.”

The group laughed, then Brizendine also talked about the criticism from parents over closed schools suggesting, “they want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back.”

Masadas went a step further.

“My brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana. The high clientele were the parents with their kids at school. When you have your kids at home, no more (inaudible),” Masadas said.

The broadcast also captured the moment they realized they were being heard live.

The board faced widespread condemnation for the remarks and all had resigned by Friday. Contra Costa County education board members will replace them on an interim basis, Greg Hetrick, the district superintendent, said in a letter.

“We deeply regret the earlier comments that were made in the meeting of the Board of Education earlier this week,” Beede, Ippolito and Masadas said in a joint statement. “As trustees, we realize it is our responsibility to model the conduct that we expect of our students and staff, and it is our obligation to build confidence in district leadership; our comments failed you in both regards, and for this we offer our sincerest apology.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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