In group text messages, newly obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit, board members with the Oakley Union Elementary School District lamented their scandal and encouraged one another to "suck it up and move on."
At one point, when discussing how best to overcome the scandal, the conversation turned racy with board members joking about meeting for a “quick three-way.”
All Four School Board Members Resigned in February
Board of Trustees members Lisa Brizendine, Kim Beede, Erica Ippolito, and Richie Masadas all resigned in February after making disparaging comments towards parents during what they thought was a private meeting. Unbeknownst to the board, their discussion was actually being streamed live, online to the public.
Private Texts Reveal Infighting
In private text messages, just before officially resigning, school board members called the mounting criticism against them “ridiculous” and vowed that the public would soon wish they were still in office. The school officials also used their text message chains to share profanity-laced memes which made light of the very comments the board members publicly apologized over. One meme, shared by Kim Beede, appeared to target the profanity Beede herself used back in February when and her fellow board members used disparaging language to criticize parents who have been highly critical of the district and its Covid-19 response. "B*t**. If you're going to call me out, I'm going to f*** you up," she said back on Feb. 17.
In the meme she shared via text message with her fellow board members, a Forest Gump-looking cartoon sits on a bench underneath text that reads, "My mama always said, 'People who tell you b*t*h, I'm gonna f*** you up are never really the ones who do," the meme stated.
The internal correspondence also reveals in-fighting between the now former board members and Superintendent Greg Hetrick over how the district rolled out its public apology and the now infamous board-wide resignations.
Then Board President Lisa Brizendine texted the superintendent after her resignation to criticize his handling of the public relations crisis. She expressed frustration that her name was left off a public apology statement released by the district, even though her three fellow board members were included.
“Super disappointed that you did not include me,” she texted him. “Another crushing blow.”
Hetrick then apologized via text message.
“That was their statement. I saw you put one out yesterday,” he wrote. “There is no intent in any of this Lisa. I am dying over here.”
In response to an NBC Bay Area public records request, the Oakley Union Elementary School District provided the Investigative Unit with a 225-page document filled with internal correspondence between board members and the superintendent. While the request asked for text messages and emails, the district only provided two email messages for the entire board.
The superintendent declined to comment for this story.
NBC Bay Area also attempted to contact the district's four former board members but was unsuccessful.