Figuring out the world of online live video streaming can come with a few unexpected hiccups. Things like inadvertently turning yourself into a cat. Or a potato. Or accidentally leaving the camera ON when popping a squat.
But possibly the biggest snafu to be caught on camera was a hot mic moment between the (now former) members of a San Franciso Bay Area school board.
The four trustees, not realizing that they were live minutes before the start of Wednesday’s public meeting, were overheard swearing and bad-mouthing parents.
The elected officials took the time prior to the start of the meeting to do some venting over parents’ letters and social media posts in regards to reopening schools.
Unfortunately for them, it was witnessed by a number of early-bird attendees and forever memorialized on video. Smile! You’re on candid camera.
It started when one of the members, Richie Masadas, referenced an incident with another member, Kim Beede, in which a parent called her out on social media for attending a party after saying it wasn’t safe to return to school.
You know what, hey Kim, I was just thinking…Kim, I was just thinking of right now, just to encourage you. People, it’s easy to hide behind a screen, but when you’re face to face with people, it’s a whole different ball game.”
Beede responds saying:
“I wasn’t doing anything bad — I honestly don’t care about that part — but are we alone?”
(No Kim, you are, in fact, NOT alone. Too bad for her and her band of trash-talking trustees, none of her fellow cohorts realized it until it was too late.)
B—-, ..If you’re going to call me out, I’m gonna f—you up.
Sorry, that’s just me.”
Oakley, Calif. School Board members caught on video mocking parents who desperately need their kids back in school:
“Are we alone?”
“B*tch, if you’re gonna call me out, I’m gonna f**k you up.”
— Young Americans for Liberty (@YALiberty) February 18, 2021
Lisa Brizendine, the president of the board, then chimed in on the conversation, “they forget that there’s real people behind those letters they are writing.”
Brizendine went on to say that parents don’t know what goes on behind the scenes and “it’s unfortunate they want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back.”
Her coworkers agreed.
However, Masadas had another idea for why parents want the schools to reopen. And no, it’s not for the SAKE of the children.
“My brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana. The high clientele were the parents with their kids at school. When you have your kids at home, no more FRIDAY.”
The conversation came to an abrupt end when Beede received a message saying, “FYI, you guys have the meeting open to the public right now.”
Retaliation was swift and merciless.
Word of the foul-mouthed four quickly spread and an online petition calling for the board to resign garnered thousands of signatures in just a couple of days. Even the mayor of Oakley, Sue Higgens (who has no jurisdiction over the Oakley Union Elementary School District) spoke out.
By Friday, all four members had resigned.
In a joint apology by now ex-board members Kim Beede, Erica Ippolito, and Richie Masadas, they stated:
We deeply regret the earlier comments that were made in the meeting of the Board of Education earlier this week.
As trustees, we realize it is our responsibility to model the conduct that we expect of our students and staff, and it is our obligation to build confidence in district leadership; our comments failed you in both regards, and for this we offer our sincerest apology.”
There are now zero trustees and 5 openings (one other trustee resigned in January) in case you’re interested in applying.
Superintendent Greg D. Hetrick, who was present at the meeting but remained mum throughout the parent dissing debacle, is still gainfully employed.
Parents of students at the school were shocked by the board’s actions. In an interview with ABC7 News, parent Ashley Stalf said:
“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.”
Schools in parts of California have been shut down for nearly a year. A YEAR.
A year of increasing stress and mounting frustration as parents struggle to cope with distance education and online learning.
A year of trying to juggle working, working from home, the hell that is virtual schooling, and somehow staying sane through the madness that is life in the corona. And parents are at their breaking point.
While the government works to try to get kids back into the classroom, there is still no end date in sight for parents or students of the Oakley Union Elementary School District, who have been out of the classroom since March of 2020.
On Saturday, several parents gathered for a rally in front of Oakley City Hall to demand the city reopen its schools.
JUST IN: Outraged parents gathered in front of Oakley City Hall for a rally on Saturday to demand that the city reopen its schools following the mass resignation of the city’s school board. https://t.co/bGCSP22sCt
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) February 20, 2021
No word on whether or not it was effective.
What we do know is this: anytime you are on an online video stream, always, ALWAYS assume the mic is hot. Because chances are? When you really don’t want it to be, it is.