Former San Diego mayor and California governor hopeful Kevin Faulconer told Fox News that he is “absolutely appalled” by video that appears to show Oakley, Calif., elementary school district board members mocking parents who want their children back in classrooms.
“I have two kids in public schools, and I’m absolutely appalled to see how they were mocking and insulting the very real concerns that millions of parents are feeling right now,” Faulconer told Fox News on Thursday. “The fact that schools are open across the country and [Gov.] Gavin Newsom has provided zero leadership, that’s why you’re seeing this anger that’s rising in California.”
The superintendent of a California school district board apologized for board members’ “truly inappropriate comments” after a group published a video that appeared to show board members complaining about parents who want teachers to return to classrooms.
Faulconer, a Republican, officially launched his bid on Feb. 2 to replace Newsom, who is facing a recall threat over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. California’s public schools have largely remained shut down since the beginning of the pandemic, with students confined to at-home learning.
Faulconer pointed to CDC data regarding school reopenings. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky recently said that it is possible for schools “even in areas of the highest community spread” to reopen safely–at least in a hybrid fashion–without teachers getting vaccinated first.
“Gov. Newsom rolled out a plan in December and said schools would open in February. Another broken promise, more rhetoric and no action,” Faulconer said. “There’s a massive gap that is occurring, and it’s threatening an entire generation of students … for no reason.”
Newsom’s four children went back to in-person learning at a private school in October, according to Politico.
Faulconer has made reopening schools a key part of his campaign. On Wednesday, Faulconer, gave a press conference outside Abraham Lincoln High School, one of 44 San Francisco schools targeted for renaming in recent months because of supposed links to white supremacy. Schools named after Presidents George Washington, William McKinley, James Garfield, James Monroe and Herbert Hoover also made the chopping block.
“San Francisco’s school board has prioritized removing the name outside this school, over the education that should be happening inside this school. President Lincoln should be celebrated, not canceled. Getting rid of Lincoln’s and Washington’s name is outrageous,” Faulconer said.
Faulconer’s press conference comes the day after the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) postponed Tuesday’s scheduled talks on how to safely reopen classrooms, despite an ongoing lawsuit from the city attorney’s office, opting instead to work on renaming 44 of the city’s public schools.
Fox News’ Bradford Betz and Peter Aitken contributed to this report.