BATON ROUGE, La. - East Baton Rouge Parish School Board President Michael Gaudet released a statement Thursday calling for the resignation of embattled board member Connie Bernard.
“On June 22, 2020 I issued a statement that voiced my disapproval of Mrs. Bernard’s actions during the recent School Board meeting but stopped short of calling for her to resign. Information has now come to light which shows her public statement on the issue was, in my opinion, misleading. I believe this erodes her ability to retain the confidence of the public that we serve. We work diligently to improve public education in East Baton Rouge and without public confidence, our job is more difficult. Most critically the children, with whose education we are entrusted, will suffer the greatest in the long run. I now respectfully ask Mrs. Bernard to resign her office as a member of the EBR School Board
I do not make this request lightly. I know that Mrs. Bernard takes her responsibilities to represent all children seriously. She is an elected official and her voters need a voice.
I will take no position on the current effort to recall Mrs. Bernard. I respect the wisdom and authority of the voters in her district to make that decision. It is their decision to make and theirs alone.
As members of the EBR School Board we are called first to remember what we were elected to accomplish. We must focus on educational issues impacting our children now. Reopening schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many low performing schools, on-boarding a new Superintendent, unifying our community, budget inequities and funding shortages are just a few of the challenges facing us. These should be our focus, now and in the future. I am hopeful that the EBR School Board, helped by the leadership of our new Superintendent, will put differences aside and work together to improve the opportunities for all our children.”
Bernard first came under fire two weeks ago when she was called out for online shopping during a passionate debate to strip confederate general Robert E. Lee’s name from the high school.
“And you sit your arrogant self in here and sit on there shopping because you don’t give a damn and you should resign,” community activist, Gary Chambers, said during the meeting.
When Bernard faced allegations that she was shopping, she denied it, saying the picture that was making the rounds was actually a pop-up ad that she failed to close, but a further and more thorough review of those records by the 9News Investigators turned up even more shopping.
Several of her colleagues and people around the nation have called for Bernard’s resignation. A statement released by Bernard on June 22 said she “will continue to serve all students as elected by my district three times.”