BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Now that records the 9News Investigators uncovered reveal EBR school board member, Connie Bernard, was in fact bargain shopping during a board meeting over the renaming of Lee High School, the school board member’s colleague says he’s disgusted, but not surprised.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked board member Dadrius Lanus if it was more concerning that Bernard was shopping during the meeting or that from what WAFB found, it looks like she may have been lying about it.
“I think the whole situation is troublesome,” said Lanus.
Bernard first came under fire two weeks ago when she was called out for online shopping during a passionate debate to strip the confederate general, Robert E. Lee’s name from the school.
”And you sit your arrogant self in here and sit on there shopping because you don’t give a damn and you should resign,” community activist, Gary Chambers, said during the meeting.
When Bernard faced allegations that she was shopping, she denied it, saying the picture that was making the rounds was actually a pop-up ad that she failed to close, but a further and more thorough review of those records by the 9News Investigators turned up even more shopping. In fact, she was quite busy during the meeting, seemingly focused on just about everything but what was being discussed. In total, her online shopping spree spanned more than three hours, giving her time to search for a Samsung s20 phone case at multiple sites, including on Poshmark and Macy’s.
She also spent time on Marshal’s and Facebook Marketplace and had time to look up dinner reservations at the Chimes East restaurant, check out at least five different discounted jackets on Thred-UP.com, and even add two separate items to her shopping cart. All of this was done on her taxpayer-funded laptop while she was being paid to work on behalf of those she represents.
Even while other board members right next to her were pouring out their concerns over racial injustice, Bernard can be seen in a live stream of the meeting constantly scrolling and at one point even grabbing a cord to plug up the computer. Lanus tells WAFB he noticed Bernard’s behavior during the meeting and calls it a slap in the face.
”The entire time her face was on her computer and on her computer screen,” Lanus said. “That lack of concern just lets us know exactly how she felt about those types of needs of our community.”WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Lanus if there was anything Bernard could say at this point to excuse her actions.
“Absolutely not, not at this point,” Lanus responded. “The only time Ms. Bernard thought to try to apologize was after we made a recall petition on the news and asked her to step down and resign. I don’t think she’s sorry for her actions, I think she’s sorry that she got caught.”
Lanus has been leading the charge to get her removed from office. He’s one of nearly half of the EBR school board now demanding Bernard step down. He says her online shopping was horribly insensitive, but the apparent lie to cover it all up says it all.
”That says a lot about the dignity, the self-respect, and also the self-accountability that she has for herself,” he added. “I want to thank you all for covering this story and doing your investigative work to get to the bottom of this. I think it’s troublesome.”
It’s not the first time Bernard has run into trouble while serving on the board. Back in 2018, she issued an apology and stepped down from her role as vice president of the board after this video surfaced of her in a neighbor’s home and in the middle of a wild argument with several teens as she spewed curse words at them before she can be seen with her hands around one of the teen’s necks. She faces two misdemeanor charges for that incident and is set to go before a judge later in July. Even as that case continues to move through the court system, and as folks across the nation continue to ridicule her actions, Bernard has told WAFB she has no plans to step aside.
”When that court case comes up this month, that’s going to be an even bigger distraction, so I just think that at this time and in this moment, the best thing she can possibly do is to just walk away and keep her dignity intact,” said Lanus.
WAFB was promised an on-camera interview with Bernard, which was set for Wednesday, July 1. Her team said she wanted to tell her side of the story, respond to our investigative report, and answer our questions, however, a few hours before that interview, her team backed out.
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