Oakley School Board Members Resign Following Disparaging Hot Mic Discussion

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

It’s almost been a year of COVID.

Almost a year of schools being shut down.

And parents are understandably frustrated. Frustrated about navigating distance learning. Frustrated with the inconsistency of their children’s education. Frustrated with their inability to work while they fill the roll of teacher and provider. Frustrated with the ever-shifting COVID goalposts. Frustrated with the politics of teachers unions.

And believe me, politics are definitely involved. Because the science says the schools can safely reopen. And so does Florida, who has had schools open all school year.

Well, the other day, the Oakley, California school board held a zoom meeting and it didn’t go exactly as planned. They made a rookie mistake and assumed the meeting wasn’t live yet. It was, and what parents heard was horrifying, and very telling. And all the trustees of the school board have now resigned as a result of their inappropriate behavior.

Eight very interesting minutes of dialogue were recorded before the trustees realized that they were not alone.

During this pre-meeting exchange, one member discussed an interaction with a parent who was understandably frustrated about school closures and said,

“B****, if you’re going to call me out, I’m going to f*** you up.”

Another board member mocked desperate and frustrated parents saying,

“They want their babysitters back.”

According to Reason’s report on the hot mic incident,

“Another member of the board theorized that parents want their kids to go back to school so they can spend the day getting high.”

The board members also discussed whether they could restrict commenting parents to exactly 3 minutes each by simply cutting them off once those three minutes expired.

Of course, these kinds fo statements make it abundantly clear that these school board members certainly do not have the best interest of the students at heart. One parent explained,

“I thought the board members were also advocates for my child and had her best interests at heart. After [Wednesday’s] incident, it really has me thinking that they don’t. They see us writing letters monthly, weekly, to the board members, detailing our stresses and grief about distance learning. For them to say we are doing nothing and sitting home and smoking pot is far from the truth.”

In terms of damage control following the incident, Superintendent Gregory Hetrick formally apologized and pledged “rebuild community trust in our district.”

Even the mayor of Oakley said,

“Quite frankly, I am embarrassed for our community… I encourage the remaining board members to do the right thing and step down.”

Ultimately, the board members offered a statement of apology and resigned from their positions.

As many of you know, I am fortunate to be able to homeschool my own children. And most people assume that it is because of COVID closures.

But actually, it has nothing at all to do with COVID.

It has everything to do with school boards, district and school administrations, and the politics of the same.

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