OAKLEY, Calif. - Parents in Oakley say they have refocused their attention after Wednesday’s hot mic moment which led the city’s entire school board to resign.
A rally to call for the resignation of board members was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, but since the board already stepped down, parents decided to instead focus on what they say is the most important issue, getting kids back into the classroom.
It’s already happening in some parts of the state, and some Oakley parents say it should be happening everywhere.
About a dozen parents gathered outside City Hall in Oakley, rallying for the reopening of schools.
The protest comes in the wake of Oakley’s entire School Board resigning after some were overheard making disparaging remarks about parents during a public video stream they thought had gone private.
"They want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back," one board member was heard saying.
One parent called the incident a blessing in disguise, saying it exposed what she was feeling.
"Feel like our concerns were not being addressed. I felt like we were not being taken serious. Felt like we were being ignored," said Claudine Zambrana.
Following the resignations, parents have refocused on re-opening schools, and say the school board incident was a teaching moment.
"I think the biggest lesson we can learn from here is board members need to listen to their community listen to their parents and realize that everyone, from the board members to the teachers, we’re all here for the kids," said Jonathan Zachreson.
Jonathan Zachreson is a parent from Placer County where his kids are already back in classrooms.
He started a Facebook group called Reopen California Schools.
Even though state lawmakers have tentatively agreed on a $6.5 billion proposal to fund statewide school openings by April 15th, he doesn’t support it.
"There’s way too many restrictions, way too many unscientific things in there," said Zachreson.
Another group called Open Schools California and Governor Newsom also oppose the reopening legislation.
As unions, boards, administrators, and politicians publicly and privately debate what’s necessary to safely return to statewide in-person instruction, some parents say the system is failing students who need to get off of screens, get on school grounds, and begin working and socializing with friends.
"I just think it would be beneficial. It soothes the soul. They need this," said
The Contra Costa County Board of Education has already named temporary replacements to the Oakley School Board until there is a new election.
Parents are hoping these board members are more sympathetic to their plight.