Home Antioch After Lewis Abstains from Vote, Censure of Antioch School Board President Fails

After Lewis Abstains from Vote, Censure of Antioch School Board President Fails

by ECT

On Wednesday Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha brought forward a motion to Censure Board President Ellie Householder. Proponents of the recall of Householder also made the request of the item to be placed on the agenda.

After a discussion and public comment, the item died as a result of a 2-2 vote with Dr. Clyde Lewis abstaining from the vote. With the deadlocked vote, no action will be taken.

On Tuesday, Rocha explained why she brought the item forward.

“Since you’ve been the chair there’s been nothing but disruption. You have encouraged protesters to intimidate a councilwoman to vote a certain way. Not only did you encourage it, you participated in the protest early on. You encouraged a protester at the District office which we saw some of your friends breaking into the building, destroying district facilities and pushing which resulted in two board members and one employee getting injured. You were censured for further encouraged your friends to intimidate board members to further your agenda,” explained Rocha. “You posted and applauded your friends on social media for screaming F Gary, F Mary, F Diane repeatedly.”

She continued.

“You participated in a taped forum when the moderator spent over an hour saying horrible things about our superintendent and many which were lies. Rather than correct him or offer the truth, you said I liked where this is going,” stated Rocha. “Most recently you posted a video on social media that you have been hearing about that included the faces of our students insinuating staff had mistreated the student yet you never asked about the facts. If I was the parent I would be furious.”

She closed by saying, “finally, you called ridiculous meetings and special meetings where you have asked the superintendent to violate employee and student rights and policy that violates board policy. On top of that, the many meetings you have called have not resulted in anything but the cost of lawyers time.

Rocha made the motion to come back with a resolution to censure Householder. Trustee Gary Hack seconded the motion.

During Public Comments, Crystal Van Dyke who is a teacher at Mission Elementary School and Teacher of the Year, spoke in support of censuring Householder.

“I am speaking in support of censuring Ellie Householder for her yet again numerous inappropriate social media post and comments during board meetings,” said Van Dyke. “As a teacher, I am told to be very careful of what I post on my social media accounts. I am told to be careful not to post photos or videos of students, do not use their names and whatever I post is appropriate for what my job entails. As an elected official, I would think that common sense would be the same. Elected official’s social media pages, especially school board members should reflect positivity and neutrality.”

She further was critical of Householder for being a dictator and not recognizing other board members is not appropriate.

“I think what needs to happen is Ellie should stay away from social media, including TikTok and instead study up on Roberts Rules of Order and the Brown Act. That might be a better use of her time,” stated Van Dyke.

Lindsey Amezcua spoke while reading an email that was sent to the Superintendent requesting censure of Householder came from the public, not only from Trustee Rocha.

“I read you this email tonight that it is clear to all of you that Trustee Rocha is not acting alone in the second request for censure of Trustee Householder,” explained Amezcua. “She is listening to her constituents who are demanding better than being called names, being made fun of, being belittled and getting dismissed. Bullying constituents should never be tolerated and request immediate action to stop the attacks.”

Melissa Case stated there was a time she supported Householder in the past and even voted for her after a conversation on District spending and other items.

“You have continued to censure people in our community. People with kids in the school, just regular people without kids in the school and you continue to do so. You are censuring us, why shouldn’t we censure you?” asked Case. “Everyone says oh we want to stop the drama, you started it. I want them to censure you. I am tired of being censured by you.”

She said she would sign the recall because Householder blocked her on social media and asked her to step down as Board President because she was unqualified to lead.

“Censure or no censure, step down,” stated Case.

Several speakers spoke asking the Board to remove the item from the agenda.

Daniel Hernandez called it “time wasted on silly infighting as students continue to struggle” while questioning censuring someone the same day the board was seeking a board governance consultant. He urged the board to start focusing on making a difference in students lives.

Willie Mims was against the censure.

“I’m totally against this,” stated Mims. “I’ve been watching and observing these board meetings on Zoom. She has faced the most concerted attack that I have ever come across in my life. Every board meeting you have 300-400 people get on the call and some of them who didn’t even have the guts to state their names who are calling this young lady all these names. You should look into the mirror and ask did you respect this young lady? No, you did not.”

Mims questioned what parents Householder attacked and asked for names versus generalizations and statements while offering his support of Householder who was doing a “good” job.

Velma Wilson highlighted she did support Householder due to her work at LCAP but responded to Mims comment asking which parent she did attack.

“I am standing right here. You left me a message that said I should be ashamed of being a black woman. Willie Mims, you still cheering for her?” asked Wilson. “But there is no shame here. I have nothing to be ashamed about. I am still standing. Despite your differences, despite whatever. I just really want to know what really have you done as you sit on this board to put positive outcomes to help our students. The students who you say Black Lives Matter. You’re so woke, but you didn’t even know what Juneteenth was, you counter protested against that youth that was following you. You were her mentor and didn’t even realize it. She still serves this community. She did a school supply giveaway, did you come? Absolutely not. Have you been to any of the African American Parent Advisory meetings. Nope. You say you support students of color. Thank you Dr. Clyde Lewis, yes, you have been there. You have been an active participate of what is happening today in this here schools. Test scores are still going up and its not because of you, its because of that woman over there (pointing to Superintendent Stephanie Anello) and her leadership. So, Ellie, I do support you being censured because enough is enough.”

Householder responded by saying there was a lot to unpack after public comments but argued they didn’t have a policy or procedure but they should not be in the business of punishing each other.

“This does feel deeply personal,” stated Householder. “I don’t take offense to it and everyone has the right to their own opinion but I just don’t think this belongs on our school board. I don’t think this is a discussion we should have here. I was elected by the people.”

Rocha called for the vote.

“It’s an unpopular and uncomfortable conversation when you’re talking about punishing someone on either side,” said Board Vice President Clyde Lewis.

Meanwhile, Trustee Antonio Hernandez called it a challenging conversation.

“There is validity to the feelings that a lot of people are in support of the censure feeling. There is absolutely things as a board that us as individuals and a collective that we could do better to be better board members, that have added to the animosity at times, have made things more challenging and I think there are a number comments today and including right now about finding ways to work together and come together as a board,” said Hernandez. “Its easy to forget all the things that happen throughout a year and think about the different ways the dynamic has changed.”

He stated there were deep issues for the board to work through but there was potential to come together.

“It’s not in good faith to censure someone on the board and drive home the animosity while we are trying to deal with this on another level,” stated Hernandez who argued even if they censure her she would still be on the board and have to work with her. “We have to work through these personal differences anyway so I would rather not find ways to jump on them. But I want to acknowledge that it is so hard to disentangle things because there are really real and valid criticisms about how this school board has been run and the things we have done.”

“I think I’ve made it very clear in the year that you have taken over. There has been disruptions,” said Rocha. “You’ve used your media to allow things to be said and done against people. You’ve certainly criticized our staff who we are responsible for. I’ve brought things and I’ve been ignored and couldn’t be heard. I did the process correctly and I still was not heard.”

She called Householder’s chairmanship not positive for the district and stated she did not admire her tactics.

“You have already been censured once. This is an issue that has been brewing and brewing and you have not taken heed even after I have tried to displace you as chair. You would have understood what was going on. Yet, you still go around, and you put that student (on social media) without asking anyone what was going on,” explained Rocha. “You automatically decided that is what you were going to do because you are the chair.”

Householder responded.

“I do understand that my leadership style is sometimes maybe heavy handed at times,” Householder said. “But its my belief that this board has gotten way off the rails and rather than us leading the District, the District has been leading us. So, if I have ever come across as overly heavy handed, that is why and I am not going to apologize for it.”

After an outburst by Melissa Case, Householder requested Case leave and be removed—including asking for security.

Superintendent Anello stated based on case law, unless its not a “substantial disruption that prevents the Board from doing its work”, the board should not consider removing an attendee.

Householder then dropped the request.

“I just think my leadership style just doesn’t resonate with everybody on the board.  The reality is I am fully committed to working with everybody here. Even despite this I am fully committed to moving forward and getting our consultant,” stated Householder. “I really don’t think I have been disrespectful to any of my board members. Heavy handed, yes, but I have not been mean and acted in bad faith.”

She also defended her social media use stated she puts out the most information while noting she has changed her behavior after the last censure. She called the censure “counterproductive” to the direction they were headed.

The vote then failed on a 2-2-1 vote with Lewis voting to abstain.

“I think that this conversation needs to happen after we discuss having a consultant,” Lewis explained.

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Robert C. Oct 28, 2021 - 10:30 am

Dr. Lewis doesn’t seem to do much of anything on this board.

Williams Oct 28, 2021 - 4:01 pm

Jesus H. CHRIST! Just kick her ass out already! Stop pussy-footing around! Why is this dragging on so long?

Frank Oct 28, 2021 - 5:35 pm

Dr. Lewis have some balls and make a decision. If you don’t have an opinion step down.

MsKria Oct 28, 2021 - 7:38 pm

The most telling part of this is that Householder stated she does not consider her behavior to be disrespectful and will not apologize for anything. So, she will continue with her behavior and quite frankly it will get worse. That’s what happens when people like this get away with being foul and doing whatever they want. She totally comes across as not giving a shit about the school district, students, staff, parents.
She is a wanna be AOC and I think it’s great Ms Wilson called her on her shit.

Thomas Gibson Oct 29, 2021 - 2:09 pm

Just kick her ass out! ONE, TWO, THREE ……. GONE!

Julio Oct 29, 2021 - 7:34 pm

I would say Lewis is in Lamar’s pocket also.

Ian Christensen Oct 30, 2021 - 2:37 am

Agreed! Why is this whole thing being dragged out. Just slam the door in her face if she tries to enter a meeting or black out her ZOOM system. Who in hell is this “Dr.” Lewis?

Loretta Sweatt Oct 30, 2021 - 12:04 pm

My research shows that women like this have a low IQ, low vocabulary, and suffer from immense childhood trauma that changed them forever, leaving them incapable of participating in authentic negotiatory, meaningful dialogue at work or home. They shout out obscenities and orders in an attempt to gain control over their own life, meaning it has nothing to do with you or others. That’s what you’re dealing with.

Hans Schultz Nov 1, 2021 - 11:24 pm

I bet Lewis is in Lamar’s jockstrap! What is this cloud a “Dr.” of? Women’s studies?

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