An entire school board in California has resigned after members were caught criticising parents in a Zoom call meeting they believed was private.
The parents wanted their children to return to classrooms amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and had written to members about the prolonged closure of classrooms in Oakley, California.
According to CNN, board members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District (OUESD) believed the Zoom call was private as they began to discuss the agenda.
But the board members were not alone on Wednesday’s call, with members of the wider school community having also logged on.
Board member Kim Beede can be heard asking “Are we alone?”, in a viral video that was afterwards shared online.
Apparently making a reference to a social media post from a parent, Ms Beede then remarked: “Bitch, if you’re gonna call me out, I’m gonna f**k you up. Sorry! That’s just me.”
Lisa Brizendine, the school board president, responded and said parents “forget that there’s real people on the other side of those letters that they’re writing.”
“It’s very unfortunate that they want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back,” Ms Brizendine added.
Another board member, Richie Masadas, went on to suggest some parents wanted schools to return so they smoke marijuana in their homes, CNN reported.
The school board’s resignations were announced by the superintendent, Greg Hetrick, on Friday.
“We deeply regret the comments that were made in the meeting of the Board of Education earlier this week,” their statement said.
“As trustees, we realise 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.”
That came after parents started a petition calling for the school board’s resignations. Oakley mayor Sue Higgins had also urged them to step down in a separate statement on Friday.
According to CNN, the school district — which serves about 5,000 students — has been carrying-out remote learning since March 2020.
Mr Hetrick added in his letter on Friday said he was “committed to returning the attention to student learning and getting our students back in school”.