Oakland school board member apologizes after video shows hand on teacher's throat at picket line

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- An Oakland school board member is apologizing after a video emerged showing her putting a hand on the throat of a teacher Friday.

The video taken while Director Jumoke Hodge was trying to get into an elementary school for a meeting was later posted to social media, where it received big backlash.

Hodge issued a statement on Saturday, March 2, 2019, apologizing for the incident.

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She titled the letter, "My Statement on Friday's deeply disturbing incident."

"I care deeply about Oakland children, their families and the teachers that nurture them in our schools," she began.

Hodge went on to say that she "acted out of fear and self-defense, and would never seek to hurt anyone, least of all a teacher."



READ DIRECTOR HODGE'S FULL STATEMENT:

I care deeply about Oakland children, their families and the teachers that nurture them in our schools. And I value our communities long struggle for more just and fair public school systems. Please accept this statement regarding Friday events.
Yesterday, as the members of the Oakland School Board were preparing for our meeting, a large number of demonstrators engaged in a series of activities that physically threatened us as board members and me in particular. They chained the doors of the board room, trapping some inside and keeping some out. I was directed by school district police to go through a specified door. When I did, the protest became chaotic and dangerous, with some protesters pushing forward, some blocking doors, and some putting hands on me. I was pushed to the ground, briefly disoriented, and tried to get back up. In doing so, I realized I was inadvertently pushing up against a teacher's neck. I would never have intentionally touched another person (or a sister) in that way. And I regret any harm that I might have caused her. I am deeply troubled by this and when realizing afterwards who it was, I offer my sincerest apology to Ms. Wright. I acted out of fear and self-defense, and would never seek to hurt anyone, least of all a teacher. In view of the entire incident, I remain deeply concerned about the threat to me and my colleagues as public servants. I am a deep believer and practitioner of nonviolent protest. What happened yesterday was not that. It was terrifying, unacceptable, and has no place in our civil discourse, especially on a day when we should be celebrating an agreement that will end a strike and offer our teachers something closer to what they deserve. I deeply apologize to Ms. Wright and know her to be a dedicated teacher. I hope she and I can find a way to restore any harm that has been done.
Respectfully, Jumoke Hinton Hodge


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