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School Board Member In NY Resigns After Posts On George Floyd

Board trustee Krista Berardi Photo Credit: Brewster Board of Education
Board President Sonia Mesika Photo Credit: Brewster School District

The school member who sparked a backlash in Putnam County after Facebook posts about the death of George Floyd and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests has resigned.

The Brewster Board of Education announced Saturday morning, June 13 that Krista Berardi had stepped down as a trustee.

Berardi submitted her letter of resignation late Friday night, June 12, the board said.

Brewster School Board President Sonia Mesika had called for Berardi to resign and members of the community held a protest over the situation after a petition started by Brewster High School student garnered thousands of signatures.

On Sunday, May 31, a post on Berardi's Facebook account said: “Read This Now!!! Was the George Floyd Incident Staged?” in all capital letters.

Later, on Wednesday, June 3, a post on the account read: “This is the (expletive) I’m dealing with right now. It’s been such an emotional rollercoaster the past couple of days, I just want to get out with my daughter for a couple of hours.”

The posts led to an outcry in the community, though the Board of Education announced it did not have the authority to remove Berardi from her position.

In response, Mesika penned a letter to the community calling for the Berardi's resignation.

“The Board of Education recognizes that Board Trustee Berardi has free speech rights as an individual, which prevents the Board from taking legal action to seek her removal,” she said. “However, I would like to say personally, for Ms. Berardi to continue as a Trustee is disruptive to the Board and hinders the work of our administration, faculty, and staff.

“Personally, I believe it is imperative that Ms. Berardi resign from her position as a Board Trustee immediately,” Mesika added. “I believe she has breached the trust of the community.

“I find her posts reprehensible, offensive, and inexcusable. They are not consistent with what I fight for every day while I serve on this Board, and in my opinion, what I believe our Board as a whole represents.”

In its statement announcing the resignation, the Brewster School Board stated:

"We would like to acknowledge her for her service and for making the decision to step down to help our community heal.

"We recognize the events of the last few days have been painful for many. As a Board, we have an unbending obligation to the well-being of every child in our community. Toward that end, we will be working with our students, parents, administrators, faculty, staff, and community residents to promote positive and caring relationships, trust, and understanding.

"The District will be holding a public forum as soon as the Governor's executive order is confirmed for larger gatherings of residents to come and be heard in person. Details to follow on this."

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