A lawyer for embattled East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member Connie Bernard and a prosecutor said Monday they're trying to resolve misdemeanor charges against her that stem from a 2018 profanity-laced confrontation with a young party-goer.

Bernard, 58, is charged with simple battery as well as entering and remaining after being forbidden. She pleaded not guilty in March 2019.

Bernard has also recently faced calls for her resignation, and is the subject of a recall petition, after remarking that people needed to know more about the life of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and for shopping online for clothes amid a board debate over renaming Lee High School.

State District Judge Ron Johnson, during a brief status hearing on the criminal case Monday, told Bernard's attorney, John McLindon, and prosecutor Larry McAlpine that he'll set the case for trial if they can't reach a resolution by Aug. 27.

A viral video shows Bernard putting her hands to the neck of a young man at a Lakeside home in August 2018. Right after the incident, Bernard said she went to the home on High Lake Drive, down the street from her home, after hearing loud noises. She said she knocked on the door and knows the owners of the home, whom she called “close personal friends.”

Three days after the incident, Bernard apologized for the profanity she used that night and the embarrassment the incident caused to friends and family, as well as distracting from her work on the School Board. She didn't apologize for going into the house to begin with or any of her other actions that night.

On Sunday, protesters marched to Bernard's south Baton Rouge home.

The march was part of an effort to recall the embattled school board member from her District 8 seat as organizers gathered signatures from voters in Bernard's district, including some from her neighbors, on a petition to put the recall on the ballot.

Calls for Bernard to resign grew following comments she made about Lee during a June 10 TV interview, in which she said people offended by the name of Lee High School in Baton Rouge should “learn a bit more” about him.

Those comments came as school leaders were debating changing the name of Lee High School, which the School Board this month changed to Liberty High School. A majority of board members, including Bernard, approved the name change.

Bernard was first elected to the board in 2010 and is in her third term representing south Baton Rouge’s District 8. She was re-elected to her third term in July 2018, just weeks before the incident at the party, after no one qualified to run against her.

Bernard has said she has no plans to leave office and vowed to serve out her term, which ends at the end of 2022.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.