As the nation grapples with how to safely reopen schools, the incident is emblematic of rising tensions between administrators and parents.
When members of a northern California school board met last week, they had no idea they were being broadcast live. They spoke candidly about the parents of their school's students—and what they said was simply not acceptable.
Members of the board made insulting comments about parents at the school, saying they want to "pick on" school officials because they want their "babysitters back". One board member's comments even contained expletives.
When they realized their meeting was being broadcast live—to an audience of parents hoping to learn if their children would be returning to the classroom, no less—well, let's just say the board members knew they'd see the fallout from their inappropriate conduct.
The meeting was switched to private but the damage was done. Board president Lisa Brizendine, who made the comment about parents wanting their children's "babysitters" back resigned immediately, according to TODAY. But that wasn't enough for angered members of the school's community, who have circulated a petition calling on all board members to resign.
7) UPDATE: Pres. of Oakley Union Elementary School district Lisa Brizendine has resigned after caught on camera cri… https://t.co/QMDFiBrkHR— Bigad Shaban (@Bigad Shaban)1613710955.0
"Before the start of the meeting the board members were speaking to each other as parents logged on. They did not realize they were being broadcast and that the public could hear them," the petition reads. "During that time board members decided to speak in a VERY disrespectful way about parents in the school district, including using profanity, speaking about parents using marijuana, and that parents just wanted their babysitters back."
The petition was effective: all board members have reportedly left their posts.
If you're a parent of school-aged children right now, you're probably incredibly angry (not to mention hurt) on behalf of the parents at this school. Now more than ever, parents and school personnel need to give each other grace, as we are all grappling with incredibly difficult choices and situations. And while we believe parents should be more understanding of the challenges teachers and school administrators are facing, the comments made at this meeting crossed the line, plain and simple.
So let's allow this story to become a lesson: We need to recognize that the people who work at our schools are exhausted, overwhelmed and unsure of how to best serve their communities. They're entitled to feel those challenges. But they aren't entitled to disrespect parents like this school's board so clearly did.
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