A school board member from Penfield, New York, named William Yaeger called a parent an “a**hole” following public comments from parents who pushed back against mask policy and controversial “diversity, equity, and inclusion” curriculum.
Video shows parent Rich Tyson, who has a daughter in the district, jump on stage and confront Yaeger after he told him, “You’re not gonna stand up here and do anything to me, a**hole.” Yaeger had to be physically restrained by others on the board and the meeting was halted.
Tyson told The Daily Wire he believes Yaeger would have tried to physically strike him had he not been restrained.
“He (Yaeger) started kind of motioning for me to come toward the stage, which I did start walking, then he dropped an F-bomb on me,” Tyson told WROC. “That’s when I walked and jumped up on the stage, not to be physically confrontational, but I wanted to address it with him face to face. By the time I got there he had become essentially unhinged.”
“The superintendent, Dr. [Thomas] Putnam, and a few other board members were basically having to restrain him,” Tyson continued. “He was like, you know, ‘I’m going to take you outside’ kind of stuff. And I just basically went up there to tell him ‘you’re not being respectful, you’re not representing us, and get the h*** out of here, get out of this board meeting.’”
“I’m a passionate parent and there were many others in the room and we all felt kind of disrespected by his cavalier attitude toward our comments,” the father asserted.
After a parent asked NY school board member Bill Yaeger to be respectful to other parents, Yaeger told him, "You're not gonna stand up here and do anything to me, a**hole." The parent then confronts him & Yaeger is physicallyMasks. pic.twitter.com/xD3E25DChC
— Amanda (@AmandaPresto) June 9, 2021
Before the incident, Tyson says parents pushed back against mask policy and so-called DEI curriculum, which stands for “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” After a father questioned the necessity of DEI in the district and floated questions about potential financial ties to the curriculum, Yaeger made a gesture to seemingly dismiss the concerns. An older woman who had earlier questioned mask policy yelled to Yaeger about the gesture. “What is that?” she says. Yaeger continued to make the gesture at the woman, apparently mocking her, says Tyson, who then asked Yaeger to be “respectful.”
“Be respectful!” Tyson yelled. “You’re an elected representative representing us, this isn’t about you, bud.”
“You’re not gonna stand up here and do anything to me, a**hole,” Yaeger yelled at Tyson.
Yaeger “had to be restrained,” Tyson said, adding that if he had not had been restrained, “he would have taken a shot at me.”
As Tyson left the campus, he said he saw two Monroe County sheriffs pull into the parking lot. He told those at the meeting he’s willing to speak to officers and feels confident he did nothing wrong.
The Penfield Central School District responded via a statement on Tuesday evening:
The Penfield Board of Education holds a public comment period at each meeting. This is a time for residents to share comments and concerns with the Board. Following the public comment period at tonight’s meeting, an exchange between a resident and a Board member became heated. The situation escalated and the meeting was immediately recessed. Since all meetings are also streamed and accessible online, the public was cleared and the meeting was reconvened in a virtual format so that the Board could complete its business.
UPDATE: On Wednesday afternoon, the PCSD released a statement acknowledging Mr. Yaeger’s “completely inappropriate” behavior, noting that his term on the school board ends June 30, before the board is set to meet again. The district also condemned Mr. Tyson, describing his behavior as “unacceptable,” too.
Penfield CSD is acknowledging 'completely inappropriate' behavior by one of its board members last night. Heated exchange between board and parents led to one member using profanity toward a parent, two parents then rushed the stage and confronted member.https://t.co/GcJMwJSdPv pic.twitter.com/GiL5KZw9fG
— Tanner Jubenville (@13WHAMTANNER) June 9, 2021