Out of Line, On the Record: School Board Criticizes Parents


For almost a year now, most of our day-to-day business has been conducted from our homes, via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc. There are so many ways that video-based meetings can go wrong, and we’ve all gotten quite a few chuckles out of the little slip-ups. We’ve laughed at the constant interruption of pets and kids, at sweet slip-ups like spoiling a proposal surprise, and at, my personal favorite goof, an attorney showing up to court as a kitten. 

Unfortunately, these little mess-ups aren’t always quite so amusing. Forgetting to set your meeting to “private” or to stop a recording, stop screen sharing, or mute your mic can have severe negative outcomes. Members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees recently found this out the hard way last Wednesday. 



Not realizing that their meeting was being broadcast to the public and certainly not realizing that anyone was recording their meeting, the attendees began to vent their frustrations to one another and in doing so said some less-than-flattering things about the parents of their students. Anyone who has worked with difficult people can certainly relate to the need to get some of these things off their chests in a forum of their peers. This “ritual” of commiseration is probably the reason why teachers, administrators, retail workers, and food service industry workers can keep a level head and not blow up at the person who caused their frustration. The vital element of this ritual, though, is that it is private and therefore does not damage the relationships between parties. So what happens when this ritual is broadcast publicly, recorded, and then goes viral on the internet? A severely damaged relationship between parties. Facing outrage from parents and in a position where there is absolutely no denying what was said, the entire school board has elected to resign. While parents seem to be pleased with this outcome, they still have the same concerns they did before the meeting and still intend to protest against remote learning.

Have you witnessed any video meeting slip-ups, either goofy or serious? How did you feel about it? Let us know!