Video Ignites Tensions in Closed California School District; Board Caught Mocking Parents

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 21, 2021

All four members of the Oakley Elementary School District Board of Trustees resigned after mocking parents in what they thought was a private meeting.

The Oakley Union Elementary School District announced the resignation of the board members on Friday, two days after the public meeting, a portion of which was recorded and shared on YouTube.

The incident garnered national attention and widespread condemnation.

'Are we alone?' board member Kim Beede asked her colleagues, according to ABC7, who obtained vision of the meeting.

Parents took umbrage with the comments as students in the school district, which is located in Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay area, have been learning remote for nearly a year amid the coronavirus pandemic. "We are real community members, we have kids or have known kids who have gone to those schools, so we have a vested interest in this process and they don't know what goes on behind the scene and it's unfortunate they want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back". Previously to this recording they began talking bad about parents of kindergartners, which prompted me to begin recording.

Beede defended herself against a parent who chided her on social media for going to a party during the coronavirus pandemic after declaring it wasn't safe to return to school. "And to hear that, it makes you understand why there's no preparation and communication because they're not taking us seriously".

"B--, if you're going to call me out, I'm gonna f-- you up", she said. I am responsible and accountable and I am truly sorry for what took place.

The video also shows board member Richie Masadas suggesting parents want schools to reopen so they can get back to smoking marijuana during the day.

Masadas suggested parents wanted their free time for other reasons. The high clientele were the parents with their kids at school. Other members laughed as he mocked then that "when you have your kids in school.No more puff puff give".

The remarks were met with swift, widespread condemnation, calls for the board's resignation - including from Oakley's mayor - and coast-to-coast coverage.

The subsequent uproar resulted in a Change.org petition calling for the board to resign.

In a statement, the school's superintendent Greg Hetrick said no excuses would be made for what occurred and the comments were not in line with what the school stands for. 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. He also accused the school board of not "listening" to the parents. I am the superintendent. Several parents left comments, with one saying: "My kids deserve better than this violent and uncaring bunch of bullies".

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