Connie Bernard in August of 2018 walked into a neighbors home because she heard music, and assaulted a young man. She was issued a summons and has since plead not guilty to charges of entering and remaining after forbidden, and simple battery. East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore waited months before filing charges against the sitting East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Member, in an attempt to give her attorneys time to present information on her behalf.
Here is the problem. Bernard walked in a neighbors unlocked door, confronted the group of teens and was asked to leave. She refused, and not only did she refuse, she assaulted an 18 year old while there — placing her hands around his neck attempting to choke the young man.
After the fire storm of people calling for her to resign from the school board, Bernard resigned as Vice President of the board, but continues to serve. Some would say, that is good enough but is it? There were calls for Bernard to resign from the school board from conservatives and liberals alike. Bernard has arrogantly refused to resign giving the situation little attention. One of the major issues is, Bernard is elected to represent young people on the school board, but she’s been caught on video assaulting a young person and she’s still there.
This speaks to a larger problem of accountability. We don’t have to wonder if Connie Bernard did what she is accused of doing, its on video. We don’t have to wonder if she was wrong for walking in a neighbors home without permission she was issued a summons. What we do have to wonder is why have we allowed her to remain all these months later? Why is Baton Rouge okay with a woman who assaulted a teenager sitting on the school board?
I often wonder when people from other places read about Baton Rouge politics what do they think about us? As we prepare to search for a new superintendent, why would someone want to come work with a school board member that assaults teenagers in their home? We can say her actions aren’t okay, but if we allow Bernard to remain on the school board until her term is complete we set a bad example for young people.
How is it we expel students from East Baton Rouge Parish public schools for similar behavior but we haven’t rid ourselves of Connie Bernard for actions caught on tape? Calvin Nicholas was the principal at Scotlandville High School, a fight broke out at his school and Mr. Nicholas used a stick to separate the students. It was said that Mr. Nicholas hit the students with the stick. A video was shared on local news, much like Connie Bernard. Mr. Nicholas was fired from East Baton Rouge Parish Schools. He filed a law suit against the district and won. Months after he won his suit, I’m still not sure he’s back at a school in EBR. Yet Connie Bernard, one of his bosses could walk into a neighbors home and assault their guest because she was bothered by the music and remain on the school board.
Calvin Nicholas is a black male. Connie Bernard is a white woman. I wonder if one of the black male school board members did the same as Connie Bernard if they would have been able to just let the storm pass without continued pressure to resign? We can wonder why our community doesn’t advance, or we can look at what we allow from those elected to represent us. I said it last year, I’ll say it again — Connie Bernard should resign.