Oakley School Board resignations highlight rift between educators and parents over reopening policy

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OAKLEY (KPIX) – A few dozen people gathered at Oakley City Hall on Saturday, not all of Oakley. What happened here this week is now part of the statewide fight to reopen schools.

“It’s not, honestly, the light we would want on our city,” said mother Rebecca Mears. “It’s unfortunate that this has happened, but unfortunately they were caught in the act of inappropriate and unprofessional comments.”

Parents call for the school to reopen at a rally outside Oakley Town Hall. (TBEN)

Originally planned as a protest against school board members who have now resigned, Saturday’s event became a call to open schools.

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“Five days a week, on campus, now!” said one speaker. “This is what has to happen.”

“We are from Brentwood Unified School District,” explained Chandra Bates. “Unfortunately, we just took our kids out of the district because the school wasn’t transparent and didn’t give parents the choice to bring the kids back to class.”

The infamy of the Oakley School Board video and the wider dispute over how and when students should return to class have drawn people from all over the place.

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“I live in Placer County – in Roseville,” said Jonathan Zacherson, founder of Reopen California Schools and rally organizer.

“I’m grateful Newsom has finally changed course a bit, instead of siding with plans to close schools, like SB 86 will do,” Zachreson said.

This group feels their movement is gaining momentum. Most of Saturday’s talks were not about what was heard on Wednesday. It was about what comes next.

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“Stand out, get more parents,” one speaker told the crowd. “Tell them to open the doors, to look us in the eyes, and to tell us what they are doing with what is happening to our children.”

“It has been a good lesson for me to research the people I vote for,” Bates said. “I will never be complacent again when it comes to filling out my ballot.”

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