During a virtual meeting with numerous board members of the La Mesa-Spring Valley Board of Education, vice president Chardá Bell-Fontenot argued that “forcing” teachers back into classrooms before receiving COVID-19 vaccinations is a very “white supremacist ideology” and likened it to slavery and white privilege. Her comments, which were captured on video and posted on Facebook, prompted a backlash from the San Diego community. Ultimately, the board voted 4-1 vote in favor of reopening schools on April 19.
The highest taxed state in the country with one of the highest dollars spent per student and this is what parents get. https://t.co/T4vvgyNiQs
— American Conservatives (@AmConservatives) February 26, 2021
The primary issue of the call was about setting a date for in-person instruction. Board members insisted Bell-Fontenot that waiting wasn’t necessary, in which she said she was opposed to making a decision at the meeting and compares reopening schools to slavery.
“We can’t just say that kids can go back in the classroom, and there’s no vaccinated teachers willing to do that. How are we forcing people — that seems like a very white supremacist ideology to force people to comply with …You are thinking about one type of family when you are speaking right now. Privilege. Check it, you guys!” Bell-Fontenot hollered.
Hispanic trustee Minerva Martinez Scott said she didn’t understand why Bell-Fontenot was “so upset” during the call and making claims that reopening schools was akin to slavery. She told the vice president she was Hispanic and has four adopted children that she wants back in school as well.
“We look like the U.N. So, that’s why when…you’re throwing out the racism, I don’t understand that. My child has also been affected by not being in school. My kid is in a facility because he had a hard time not being in school. I was able to find resources to get him the help needed. I want all the kids back in school.”
The vice president went on to argue that “we don’t have to give anybody any date” and “do anything that we don’t want to do right now.” Board members referenced a survey that indicated 70-80% support for returning to school, in which Bell-Fontenot said she would like to know “geographically” how they conducted the feedback, as well as which school sites and which language groups. When another trustee didn’t have the socioeconomic data, Bell Fontenot said she didn’t want to be a part of forcing anybody to do anything they don’t want to do. “That’s what slavery is, and I’m not going to be a part of it,” she adds.
Bell-Fontenot then yelled at her board members, saying “none of you guys even know what you’re talking about,” before Superintendent David Feliciano stepped in to defend others on the call. “I take great offense to the statement that no one on here knows what they’re talking about right now. I don’t believe that to be the case at all.” She snapped back that he was “disrespectful” and “offensive” in speaking for others and that if board members had a problem with what she was saying, then they could speak up.
What Bell-Fontenot didn’t realize was that the board meetings are recorded for the public. She complained that they aren’t “easily accessible” and told board members she was offended by the smirks on their faces. “Please stop trying to make me seem like I don’t know what I’m talking about, and like I’m dumb.”
The video was posted directly to Facebook and received more than 15,000 views.
They’ve never represented students or the parents. They only care about the teachers union and their own desire to keep being paid to do nothing.