State Rep. Jason Nelson (R-Oklahoma City) issued the following statement today on the actions of the State Board of Education during yesterday’s meeting.
“I’ve listened to nearly two hours of a recording of yesterday’s state board of education meeting. I can only describe it as disturbing.
“I'm stunned by the board members' appalling behavior at Dr. Janet Barresi’s first board meeting as our newly elected State Superintendent. I’m not surprised by Dr. Barresi's professionalism under fire. It only serves to confirm she is the right person for this job.
“Listening to the recording you hear a few members of the board attempt to provoke Dr. Barresi with constant harassment and interruptions over the course of five hours. Clearly they had organized this effort before yesterday’s meeting in a pathetic attempt to embarrass Superintendent Barresi. That plan backfired. Two of the board members in particular played the classic school yard bully.
“I can’t help but wonder if other board members were embarrassed or even intimidated by the disgraceful actions of board members Tim Gilpin and Herb Rozell. At one point a member of the board indicates that she supports approving the hiring of an individual recommended to the board by Dr. Barresi only to hear Mr. Gilpin overpower the conversation and blurt out a motion to the opposite effect. It's now public record that they underestimated Dr. Barresi and that they are not fit to continue serving on the board.
“I hope the other board members will quickly clarify that they do not share or endorse Gilpin’s and Rozell’s complete lack of respect and civility. It is important to know if the other board members believe the behavior exhibited by Mr. Gilpin and Mr. Rozell was appropriate and if they believe that these two men should continue serving on the board. I hope their silence sense yesterday’s meeting is not their assent to the unacceptable behavior.”