School trustees in Oakley found out that a “hot mic” can get public officials in hot water during open video meetings.
During a live public meeting Wednesday night, members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees were caught on video making disparaging comments about parents during a discussion about public comments made during board meetings.
An online petition seeking the resignations of the trustees was soon posted on social media sites.
Superintendent Greg Hetrick was describing a proposal to limit public meeting comments to three-minute audio clips made in advance when trustee Richie Masadas noted, “It’s easy to hide behind a screen.”
Apparently unaware that the public video feed was still live, trustee Kim Beede said “Are we alone? If you’re going to call me out. I’m going to f— you up.”
Following her comments, board president Lisa Brizendine added, “People forget there’s people behind those letters people are writing. They want to pick on us. They want their baby sitters back.”
The Change.org petition seeking the resignation or recall of the school board trustees was posted soon after the video became public. The site claimed about 3,300 signers by Thursday evening.
Hetrick issued a statement Thursday saying, “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. These comments are not typical and more importantly they are not what the community should expect from our school district.”
He added, “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. 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… I know that our students deserve better from us.”
No one from the school board answered calls or emails seeking their response Thursday.