Petition to recall EBR School Board member Connie Bernard submitted Tuesday
UPDATE: School board Mike Gaudet president released a statement Thursday calling for Bernard's resignation: https://www.wbrz.com/news/ebr-school-board-president-calls-for-connie-bernard-s-resignation
BATON ROUGE - Members of the East Baton Rouge School Board began their push to remove Connie Bernard from the board Tuesday amid a viral controversy stemming from a public meeting last week.
Members of the EBR school board held a news conference Monday where they demanded Bernard's resignation and announced plans to circulate a recall petition if she didn't do so. On Tuesday, the petition was officially submitted.
If the petition meets the required signature count, the recall will be put to a vote in her district during the next possible election cycle.
You can read the document here.
The announcement came just days after a school board meeting in which Bernard was caught on an online shopping website site during a discussion on renaming Lee High. Bernard also made controversial comments during the meeting concerning Confederate General Robert E. Lee, for whom the school was named.
East Baton Rouge School Board Vice President Tramelle Howard was among fellow board members calling for Bernard's resignation Monday.
Thursday was over 400 years of pain and hurt on display," Howard said. "And our colleague decided to ignore the cry of our community and totally misrepresent us as a school board."
Board member Dadrius Lanus had said he would begin circulating the recall petition if Bernard did not resign by noon Tuesday.
Bernard responded with a statement just minutes after the news conference concluded, saying she had no intention of resigning.
“I regret that I have become a distraction to the important work we have to do to educate our children. After prayerful consideration and consultation with my family and friends, I will continue to serve all students as elected by my district three times," her statement read.
School board member Michael Gaudet also announced Monday he will submit a proposal at an upcoming board meeting requiring members to undergo a race education course in wake of the controversy.
A video of local activist Gary Chambers confronting Bernard during the meeting went viral over the weekend. Before Chambers took the podium, he posted a picture of Bernard allegedly shopping from her laptop while the board discussed racism.
Bernard previously released an apology for her comments on Friday.
My comments last week about the naming of Lee High School were insensitive, have caused pain for others, and have led people to believe I am an enemy of people of color, and I am deeply sorry. I condemn racial injustice in any form. I promise to be part of the solution and to listen to the concerns of all members of our community. I stand with you, in love and respect.
Bernard ultimately voted with the rest of the board to rename Lee High.
Bernard previously served as the school board's vice president but stepped down in 2018 in the wake of another controversy in which she was caught on video violently confronting teenagers having a party at a neighbor's home.