All four Oakley Union Elementary School District (OUESD) board members resigned on Friday after board president Lisa Brizendine was overheard on a Zoom call saying parents "want their babysitters back" during a school re-opening meeting on Wednesday.
Oakley Mayor Sue Higgins had called for the board's resignation on Friday. Brizendine issued a statement calling her "babysitters" comment "flippant," "callous and uncalled for," adding that she is "truly sorry":
"I think in some respects, I said that because I too want desperately for schools to open," Brizendine explained. "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."
"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...
"I tendered my resignation because I don't want to be a part of something that would negatively impact my community. The students, staff and families deserve the very best, there is much work that needs to be done to reopen our schools safely and I will be praying that we as a community can move past this incident together and that our children always remain in focus," she added.
Some parents responded to the board's resignations with a rally:
"Now that the trustees have resigned, it's time to move forward. It's time to now get the ball rolling in getting our kids back," said parent Claudine Zambrana. "I felt like we weren't being taken serious. I felt like we were being ignored."
Two members of the county board have been appointed to serve as temporary members of the OUESD.
"Hopefully, what happens is they put people who really pay attention and listen to the community in getting those kids back in school," said rally organizer Jonathan Zacherson.