Oakley trustees draw criticism for their disparaging remarks about parents

Oakley school trustees, unaware that their virtual meeting had gone live, drew the ire of listeners Wednesday after one used profanity to call out a parent who had criticized her while others said parents wanted schools to reopen so they could have their babysitters back, or smoke pot.

Richie Masadas, an Oakley Elementary School District trustee, grabs his head as he discusses parents who want their children to return to physical schools. The conversation happened just before the start of a school board meeting Feb. 17, 2021. 

The two-minute exchange of disparaging remarks came before the start of the regular Oakley Elementary School District board meeting in which trustees were to discuss what a reopening plan could look like, something many had eagerly awaited. But after hearing criticism lobbied against them, hundreds of parents and others took to social media to let trustees know what they thought of them.

“This behavior is disgusting,” Kendra Romero wrote on an online petition another parent started to demand their resignations. “As parents we should not tolerate our representatives to behave in this manner.”

Romero said she started to record the Webex meeting, which she later uploaded to YouTube, when she heard some negative comments from trustees about parents of kindergartners.

“Oakley needs a new school board that will stand up for parents and their children,” she said on the petition.

Rebecca Mackowiak said she started the petition asking for trustees’ resignations because “a recall would cost the district money that should be going to the kids.”

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“I am asking that the board members to resign immediately due to their egregious behavior,” she said on the petition. “They should no longer represent the parents, teachers, and children in this school district.”

On Thursday morning, Oakley Elementary School District Superintendent Greg Hetrick issued a statement taking responsibility for the matter.

“Last night at the Oakley Union Elementary School District regular board meeting there were unfortunate and truly inappropriate comments made that were heard by many,” he wrote. “These comments are not typical and more importantly they are not what the community should expect from our school district. …  I know that we lost trust with the community.  I will not make excuses for what happened or why it happened. I am the superintendent. I am responsible and accountable and I am truly sorry for what took place.”

Trustees were awaiting the start of the late afternoon meeting on Wednesday when they began discussing parents’ letters and social media posts about reopening schools.

“It’s easy to hide behind a screen but when you’re face to face with people it’s a whole different ball game,” Trustee Richie Masadas said.

That’s when Trustee Kim Beede defended herself against a parent who called her out on social media after she had reportedly gone to a party during the pandemic after saying it wasn’t safe to return to school.

“I wasn’t doing anything bad — I honestly don’t care about that part — but are we alone?” she asked the other trustees. “…If you call me out, I’m going to …(profanity).”

“Sorry, …read more

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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