Connie Bernard controversy spills over to BREC; reverse discrimination claim, racist audio hack cause meeting issues

Connie Bernard controversy spills over to BREC; reverse discrimination claim, racist audio hack cause meeting issues

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The controversy surrounding East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member Connie Bernard spilled over to the commission in charge of Baton Rouge’s parks and recreation system, BREC, Thursday, June 25.

BREC leaders considered sending East Baton Rouge Parish School Board president Mike Gaudet a formal request to remove board member Connie Bernard as the school system’s appointed BREC liaison.

The request is mainly symbolic since Bernard’s removal or continued appointment as the school board’s liaison falls under the discretion of board president Gaudet.

A tense discussion took place after the request was brought up.

Commissioner William Scheffy objected to BREC considering making the request.

“I wish we didn’t address this. I think it opens up more wounds,” said Scheffy. “We open up a can of worms that we may not be able to put the lid back on.”

Scheffy argued it was best to let the school board handle the matter. He went on to claim he was discriminated against in the past for being white, upon being appointed to BREC’s commission.

“One of your BREC commissioners made a racially disparaging comment towards me. This thing can cut both ways,” said Scheffy.

“If we don’t deal with the elephant in the room it will corrode us from the inside,” said chairman Lloyd Benson Jr.

Commissioner Jerry Jones Jr. also responded to Scheffy’s assertion.

“There’s got to be accountability. That’s the word: accountability,” said Jones. “To this day, the only person who has put their hands on anyone is her.”

Jones expressed displeasure with Bernard’s appointment to the commission, saying board president Gaudet had the “bright idea” to put Bernard over recreation activities for children after she was involved in an altercation with a teenager in 2018.

Before a vote could be taken, a hacker blared racist audio to disrupt the meeting. That audio contained the phrase “F---- all those N-------.”

The meeting resumed a few minutes later, at which time the returning members of the board voted to approve sending the request to Gaudet.

Scheffy was the sole commissioner to vote against sending the request.

Read also: Connie Bernard could be removed as school board liaison to BREC, pending approval

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