OAKLEY, Calif. - The superintendent of the Oakley Union Elementary School District apologized for the cuss words and inappropriate conduct of some board members at a meeting that some parents recorded on Wednesday night without the trustees knowing they were live.
"There were unfortunate and truly inappropriate comments made that were heard by many," Supt. Greg Hetrick said in an email to KTVU on Thursday. "These comments are not typical and more importantly they are not what the community should expect from our school district. The comments made were not in alignment with our vision and are definitely not what any of us stand for as leaders. I know that we lost trust with the community."
What he was referring to were individual recordings of the board meeting that some parents took at home and posted on YouTube, without the board knowing their microphones were live or that the public was listening in. The board had been talking about limiting the time parents could speak during the public comment session and returning back to school in person.
Lisa Brizendine said, "They want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back."
Richie Masadas joked about his brother having a medical marijuana service and the "clientele were parents with kids in school."
Kim Beede said, "Bitch, if you call me out, I'm going to F--- you up," referring to hypothetical parents who might want to attack her in general on the issue of going back to school.
Parent Karen Romero posted one of the versions of the recording, showing ow the board wasn't aware that their microphones were live.
"As parents, we should not tolerate for our representatives to behave in this manner," Romero wrote on YouTube. "Oakley needs a new school board that will stand up for parents and their children."
Many parents spoke out about the comments and said they were upset and disappointed. Some parents held a "Zoom out" on Thursday where they kept their children from participating in distance learning.
"It's ok if you don't want to send your child to school and it's ok if you do, but don't degrade parents and the teachers by calling them babysitters," Claudine Zambrana, a parent, said. "No one is a babysitter here."
Another parent, Erica Turner, said she is concerned about the mental health of two of her children who have been out of school for a year. She’s grateful for the work of teachers who have fought every day for children and said there should be consequences for the trustees.
"They should step aside and take initiative for the things they chose to do and say last night," Turner said.
There is now even a petition to get the school board to resign or be recalled.
The superintendent said he would not make excuses for what happened or why it happened. Hetrick also sent a voice recording of the apology to parents.
"I know that our students deserve better from us," Hetrick wrote. "I pledge to work collaboratively with stakeholders and community members to begin doing the important work that is needed to rebuild community trust in our district."
Jonathan Zachreson with the group "Reopen California Schools" said a protest in response to the board members’ comments is planned for Saturday, Feb. 20 at noon outside Oakley City Hall.
"Many teachers are working hard than before, but the model is what's not producing results," Zachreson said. "They really need to listen to these parents. We see the damage every day that distance learning has on them."
KTVU reached out to the board members whose comments came under scrutiny but did they did not respond.