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Connie Bernard won't attend Thursday night school board meeting

3 months 5 days 1 hour ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 August 14, 2018 4:00 PM August 14, 2018 in The Investigative Unit
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Connie Bernard, the embattled member of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board caught on camera in a profanity-laced tirade this weekend, plans to be absent from the board’s meeting Thursday night.

WBRZ learned Bernard has advised she won’t attend. She told colleagues she had a scheduling conflict and always planned to miss the Thursday evening meeting.

Bernard apologized for the video earlier this week.

The video showed Bernard enter a neighbor’s house in a fit of rage, shouting expletives late Friday night.

Additional video showed Bernard say “The district attorney is coming.”

Tuesday, East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore acknowledged speaking with Bernard but said he is not involved – and would not interfere – in a law enforcement investigation. In fact, he said, he was not sure why he was contacted.

"She did call [Friday night], and after speaking with her I spoke with the deputy on scene and told him to proceed as he would with any other case and take whatever action is appropriate," Moore said. "That's the last I heard about it until I read the article the next morning."

Bernard and some teenagers got into an argument Friday when she went to a home in the upscale Oak Hills neighborhood off Bluebonnet where she lives and started recording what appeared to be a gathering of kids. Teenagers there asked her to leave then grabbed her hone. Video showed the group arguing with Bernard, who shouts vulgar language and is seen in the video grabbing a kid by the neck.

The adult woman who lives at the home questioned the behavior.

"If she actually had concerns that were legitimate she should have called police or done what a normal citizen would have done," Katherine Campbell said. "More than that, her aggressive behavior and complete use of foul language in front of these children, she doesn't just have any citizenship position, she has a school board position and her behavior in front of school children was absolutely appalling."

Campbell said she will press charges against Bernard and called for her to resign from the school board.

Bernard's attorney, Aidan Reynolds, said Bernard stands by the apology she issued earlier this week but declined to make her available for an interview Tuesday. He revealed she would not be available at the board meeting either since she had planned not to attend.

A school board official said Bernard alerted the board two weeks ago she would not attend this week’s meeting.

It does not appear that Bernard broke any code related to her elected position on the school board. And other board members have little control of her future.

“Methods [for removing a member] are impeachment, removal by suit and recall. Each method has a legislatively prescribed process that must be followed. The first two, impeachment and removal by suit, are not options based on current facts which leaves recall as the only remaining option. Bottom line, neither option permits a School Board to unilaterally remove a colleague,” a school district representative said about board policy.

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