If you’re a public body and decide to disparage people on Zoom, make sure the call’s set to private. That seemingly obvious piece of advice was ignored by members of a northern California school board, all of whom have now resigned following a parent-mocking video call that was accidently broadcast to the public.
A Zoom meeting of the Oakley Union Elementary School District board of trustees was caught by NBC News Bay Area reporter Bigad Shabad and posted to Twitter. As you can tell by the liberal use of profanity and amount of insults aimed at parents, the participants didn’t realize the call was available for all to see.
Before the meeting began, some board members complained about parents who criticized schools closing during the pandemic.
“It’s unfortunate they want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back, said former board president Lisa Brizendine.
Board member Richie Masadas offered an opinion on why parents might want their children out of the house.
“My brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana and his clientele were parents with their kids at school,” he said.
At one point, participant Kim Beede asks, “Are we alone?” She should have made sure the answer was no before threatening a parent who’d scolded her on social media for attending a party after announcing it wasn’t safe to return to in-person learning.
“Bith, if you’re going to call me out, I’m going to fck you up,” said Beede.
Another section of the call saw Superintendent Greg Hetrick talk about new technology in another district that cuts off public comments at precisely three minutes. It was praised by the other members, who said, “we need that” and “good idea.”
The moment the board realized the call was going out live is also captured in all its glory. Bede lets out an understated “Uh-oh” after reading a comment that the broadcast is public. “We have the meeting open to the public right now,” she said, to which Brezendine replies “Nuh-uh.”
As a result of someone forgetting to check Zoom’s settings, a petition was launched calling for all board members to resign. It didn’t take long to reach almost 7,000 signatures, at which point the trustees resigned and released a joint statement:
“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.”
Public Zoom fails have become a common sight during the pandemic, though most of them are pretty innocent, like the lawyer who was unable to remove a kitten filter.