(OAKLEY, CALIFORNIA) In one of the most appalling displays of school board behavior ever caught on tape – the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board did not realize they were already Zooming LIVE before their February 17 School District Board Meeting, giving parents a disturbing glimpse of how they really feel.
Concerned parents had already begun to Zoom in for last night’s (Feb 17) OEUSD School Board meeting as the trustees were already engaged in a lengthy conversation about how to limit public comment from parents, sharing their frustration at having to listen to parents, and how to deal with these people that “just want their babysitters back.”
The board appears live on the open district Zoom call as the board is strategizing ways in which they could hear less of parents’ public comments, or hopefully avoid direct dialogue altogether, with a possible recorded message format that, OUESD Superintendent Greg Hetrick shared, would only take comments in advance of the meeting and cuts off parents’ questions and comments at 3 minutes.
This format would enable the board to avoid direct dialogue with desperate parents trying to find solutions for their children and prepare responses in advance. In the City of Oakley, strong with middle-class working families, public school children have suffered spikes in depression-related pediatrician visits, suicide attempts, have been sex-trafficked via laptop computers, have dropped out of school, and 40% of all students Zoom in to school each day alone – as their parents work.*
The consensus amongst trustees agreed they would not announce this strategy to mute parents’ voices until the new, pre-recorded format was already in place. They nodded in agreement: “Oh, of course…” agreeing they must avoid what they clearly understood would be pushback (and more dialogue) from the parents that voted them into a position to care for their children’s best interest.
Amusingly, one trustee complains to the board that parents “don’t realize there are real people on the other side of their letters.”
The profanity and insulting of parents as people who “just want their babysitters back” begins around the 5-minute mark.
The Video is below
OUESD Trustees: Lisa Brizendine (president), Erica Ippolito, Kim Beede, Richie Masadas.
* Contra Costa Board of Education, Contra Costa DA, Contra Costa Human Trafficking Coalition, Contra Costa Community Violence Solutions, Contra Costa ILSP.