Oakley school board's offensive comments trigger recall effort

OAKLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Parents in Oakley are outraged and calling for the resignation of the Oakley Union Elementary School Board after the board made controversial comments in a Webex meeting. The board thought the meeting was private, but it was actually open to the public.

"I was shocked to hear the district is representing our children this way," said parent Jennifer Cardinale.

"I thought the board members were also advocates for my child and had her best interests at heart. After last night's incident, it really has me thinking that they don't," said parent Ashley Stalf.

FULL VIDEO: Oakley school board caught making controversial comments about parents
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Some Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Education members were caught on video making inappropriate remarks about parents.

In the recorded video, you can hear board member Kim Beede say what she would do to parents who commented online or wrote letters about reopening schools did it to her face.

"Are we alone?" she asks the other board members. When they say yes she says, "B***h, if you are going to call me out I am going to F**k you up! (laughter) Sorry! That's just me."

"To hear that, it was appalling," Cardinale said.

Board member Richie Masadas implies on the call that parents just want their kids back in school so they can sit home and smoke pot. He says when your kids are home there is no more Friday.

"My brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana and he delivered to parents while their kids were at school," Masadas said. Other members can be heard laughing.

"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," Stalf said.

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Parents were not only upset by what the board members said, but also that Superintendent Hetrick, who was also on the call, didn't say anything.

"For him to sit there and not speak up, was shocking to me," said Cardinale.

"It makes me wonder what is truly going on behind the scenes. What is being talked about about us? It is a very uneasy, unnerving feeling," said Stalf.

In the recording, board member Lisa Brezendine talks about how parents just want their kids back in school so teachers will watch them. She doesn't call them teachers.

"They want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back," Brezendine says, while other members agree, saying "Right. Right."
"That's totally not correct. We want our children to have a good education, we want our kids to learn from the best, and we feel that way here in Oakley. My child's teacher is amazing. I wish she were there with her teacher. To hear that we think of them as babysitters is false," Cardinale said.

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"I thought the board members were also advocates for my child and had her best interests at heart and after last night's incident it really has me thinking that they don't," Stalf said.

Parents have created an online petition calling for the board to resign or be recalled.

Superintendent Greg Hetrick has released the following statement: "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. We all take pride in the Vision of the Oakley Union Elementary School District in that we are "A diverse learning community committed to educating and empowering today's learners and tomorrow's leaders in a safe and inclusive environment." 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 have been and continue to be committed to working together for the betterment of the Oakley Union Elementary School District students, staff and entire school community. I know that our students deserve better from us. 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."
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