Angry parents speak out as California school board president, members resign amid hot mic fallout

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All members of a California school board, including the president, reportedly resigned from their posts Friday after video footage of them mocking parents went viral.

As of Saturday morning, the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees therefore contained zero members. Prior to the scandal, the board had contained four members — board president Lisa Brizendine, Erica Ippolito, Kim Beede and Richie Masadas — and two vacant spots.

“The president of the Oakley Union Elementary School Board of Trustees has resigned and on Friday she apologized for her ‘callous’ remarks. [T]hree other board members, essentially the entire board, have submitted their resignations effective immediately,” Oakland station KTVU reported Friday.

“I am raising a 10-year-old with special needs and having him home during this pandemic, while also holding down two jobs to support my family has been a huge stress,” Brizendine said in a statement to KTVU.

“I suffer with many of the same things that parents are going through from mental health issues to regression. My remark was callous and uncalled for and for that I am truly sorry,” she added.

The shocking footage that went viral earlier this week showed Brizendine and her colleagues speaking disparagingly about parents who’re frustrated with the school district’s slow crawl to reopen schools.

One of the four accused parents of wanting “their babysitters back.” Another suggested parents are desperate for their children to return to school so that they, the parents, can resume smoking pot at home.

Like an increasing number of folks in academia, from teachers to school board members, the four had little empathy for parents who’ve seen their children fall into depression, lose their academic motivation and, in some cases, commit suicide after being locked at home, away from their friends and classrooms.

“In recent months, many suicidal children have been showing up in hospital emergency departments, and more kids are needing in-patient care after serious suicide attempts,” NPR reported earlier this month.

“The kids that we are seeing now in the emergency department are really at the stage of maybe even having tried or attempted or have a detailed plan. And we’re admitting to the hospital more kids than usual because of how unwell they are,” Dr. Vera Feuer, the director of pediatric emergency psychiatry at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York, told the outlet.

Yet teachers and their allies do not seem to care — and parents, even so, the so-called “progressive” ones, are growing increasingly fed-up with their attitude.

Speaking on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” Friday morning, one Oakland mother, Ashley Stalf, expressed shock over the board’s indifference toward her kids’ tribulations.

“We meet regularly with the board as parents and we’re constantly sending in letters and emails and telling them our griefs and our strifes over distance learning. … What are their true intentions, if they feel so freely that they can talk, you know, on a mic that may or may not be hot, what’s truly being said behind closed doors?” she said.

Listen:

(Source: Fox News)

Over on Medium, a woman who identifies as a “progressive parent” recently published a lengthy essay documenting her exasperation over not only the ongoing school closures, but the animosity that she’s faced from teachers and their allies.

I will never understand how the left in this country has decided that advocating for putting kids first is somehow right-wing. I’m hearing from progressive parents all the time who are so infuriated about the Democratic apathy around school reopening — from politicians like Gavin Newsom, who are willing to allow their stances to be dictated by teachers’ unions — that they’re considering supporting the recall effort, maybe even switching parties,” parent Rebecca Bodenheimer wrote.

Because here’s the thing: parents are not willing to sacrifice their kids’ wellbeing for the sake of ideology or being a good leftist. And they shouldn’t. It’s our most important job to do what’s best for our kids. And if that means calling out teachers’ unions, so be it.”

Bodenheimer isn’t alone. Over at Vox, a bastion of far-left thought, Benjamin P. Linas, an epidemiologist and father, expressed a similar sentiment in a column published this week.

“I love my kids’ teachers and believe in my core that they want what is best for my girls, but I am losing patience. The time has arrived to open our schools for in-person learning — now,” he wrote.

We should be working to quickly implement universal asymptomatic testing of teachers as well as universal vaccination, but we cannot wait for those things to be in place before we begin moving. And the science shows that we don’t need to. At stake is the 2021-22 school year and, arguably, the future of American public education itself.”

After the piece was shared on Twitter by various parties, comments just as disparaging toward parents as the ones made by the now-resigned former members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees began to bubble up.

Many of them were directed at Linas.

Look:

See what’s happening? He’s being labeled affluent, privileged and even “right-wing” for daring to stand up for his children’s well-being. Apparently, this is what the so-called party of love, compassion and empathy thinks actual empathy looks like …

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Vivek Saxena

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