Video footage from a La Mesa, California school board meeting is generating outrage from parents who learned that a school board member stated a potential school reopening is “what slavery is,” and is a “very white supremacist ideology.” The board member also demanded that her colleagues check their “privilege.”
Charda Bell-Fontenot, the Vice President of the La Mesa-Spring Valley Schools board, appeared ignorant of the fact that her remarks would become public record, claiming, “If our meetings were actually recorded for the public, we would know that.”
Bell-Fontenot, who refused to show her face on-screen, stated, “So how are we forcing people, that seems like a very white supremacist ideology to force people to comply, you know, or conform, without thinking about all of their intersecting factors and barriers that exist for all families … just letting you know, you’re thinking about one type of family when you’re speaking right now. Just letting you know. Privilege. Check it, you guys.”
The board vice president added, “So I don’t wanna be a part of forcing anybody to do anything they don’t wanna do, that’s what slavery is, I’m not gonna be a part of it.”
When the superintendent asked her to stop berating other board members, Bell-Fontenot accused him of “disrespecting” her, and rebuffed a request from another colleague to continue the argument in private by shouting, “Racism doesn’t need to be private, Becky.”
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The full board meeting was posted to YouTube in audio form, well as a five-minute clip of the altercation between Bell-Fontenot and her colleagues.
Demographic data shows that only 28% of the students in the Spring Valley school district are white, casting doubt on Bell-Fontenot’s claims.
Concerned parents with children in the Spring Valley school system have created an online petition demanding Bell-Fontenot’s immediate resignation.
The petition has accrued some 730 signatures at press time, and appears to be gaining traction at a rapid pace.
National File recently reported on another instance of unprofessional behavior during a school board meeting in California, in which board members said things like “I’m gonna f**k you up” about concerned parents. In that case, several board members ended up tendering their resignations.