Embattled East Baton Rouge School Board member Connie Bernard has come under controversy after a video went viral of local firebrand Gary Chambers criticizing Bernard during a recent meeting.
The video of Chambers, publisher of The Rouge Collection, was shared by several prominent entertainment websites such as TMZ and The Shade Room, as have popular figures with large social media following, including LeBron James, Shaun King and Patton Oswalt. The hashtag, #connie, has been trending on Twitter.
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This isn't the first time Bernard, who has served on the board for a decade, has been the subject of controversy.
Five facts about Connie Bernard:
Her Lee High comments, and apology
Chambers took issue with comments Bernard made about Lee High School, saying those offended by the name should "learn a little bit more about" Confederate General Robert E. Lee, for whom the school is named, and discover that he eventually freed all his slaves.
“You should walk out of here and resign and never come back because you are the example of racism in this community. You are horrible,” Chambers said.
Just prior to taking the mic, Chambers posted a picture of Bernard on her laptop, apparently shopping online for dresses. As he started speaking, he held up his phone.
“This is a picture of you shopping while we’re talking about the history of racism in this country,” Chambers said. “You don’t give a damn.”
On Friday, Bernard told The Advocate that what people saw on her laptop was an accident, a pop up ad that she failed to close. She said she was struggling with technology Thursday, going back and forth between a district-owned and a personal computer.
“I wasn’t shopping,” she said. “I was actually taking notes, paying attention, reading online comments.”
Arthur Pania of Baton Rouge, who attended Thursday's School Board meeting, took to Facebook Saturday afternoon to rebut Bernard.
"I personally watched her for about eight minutes, attempting to decide between a beige and red dress," Pania wrote. "The only thing I had issue determining from my sight was if it was a short dress or nightware."
Bernard apologized for her comments about General Lee.
The board ended up voting unanimously to create a committee that will come up with options for a new name for the school.
A three-minute video of local firebrand Gary Chambers on Thursday night berating and calling for the resignation of East Baton Rouge Parish Sc…
What district she serves, and how long is left on her term
Bernard, a Republican, represents District 8 and last ran unopposed in 2018.
Her term runs through 2022.
How long has she served on the East Baton Rouge school board
Bernard has served on the East Baton Rouge school board since 2010.
In 2010, Bernard received 54.1% of 6,787 votes. She was listed as a Republican and beat out three Democrat candidates: Brandon J. DeCuir (25.4%), Eva Kemp-Melder (14.9%) and Brian Blackwell (5.6%), according to BallotPedia.
In the 2014 election, Bernard narrowly edged out Republican candidate Christopher Bailey. Bernard won by 431 votes, receiving 51.6%.
She was named the vice president of the panel in January 2017 but gave up her position in August 2018.
East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member Connie Bernard is apologizing for recently saying those offended by the name of Lee High School in…
What Bernard is known for outside of school board
According to the school district's about page, Bernard is a two-time LSU graduate and is described as an "entrepreneur."
Her bio says she's served on the Board of Directors for Louisiana Earth Day for 15 years and has worked as a communications and public relations professional for: The American Cancer Society, EBRP Recycling Office, and the Ed Reed Organization.
It also says worked as a substitute teacher at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Embattled East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member Connie Bernard on Friday gave up her position as vice president of the panel, saying her…
Controversial profanity-filled video and battery charge
On Aug. 10, 2018, Bernard was videoed in profanity-filled confrontation she had with several young people having a party down the street from her home. Sheriff’s deputies issued her a misdemeanor citation for entering and remaining after being forbidden.
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.
Later that month, Bernard stepped down as the school board vice president, citing her husband's health.
She did not reference the profanity incident.
Prosecutors who reviewed a profanity-filled viral video of East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member Connie Bernard confronting a young part…