In a recent school board meeting in Ohio, tensions reached a boiling point when the board president asked a board member to stop talking. The member then made a Nazi salute and said, “Sieg Heil,” which was shortly followed by the president’s resignation.
A Heated Exchange
Tipp City School Board President, Simon Patry, found himself in a heated exchange with fellow board member Anne Zakkour during a passionate speech in their local school board meeting.
Patry was giving his speech when Zakkour began interrupting him, to which he responded, “I’m talking, do not interrupt me, do not make any noises or else I will — I will not tolerate it.”
The exchange was brief, but then took a shocking turn when Zakkour raised her arm in a Nazi salute and said, “Sieg Heil.” It was an obvious attempt at comparing Patry to the notorious dictator Adolf Hitler.
An Abrupt Resignation
Zakkour’s provocative gesture had many in the meeting shocked and left many questioning its relationship to Patry’s abrupt announcement of his resignation from the school board, effective at midnight that night.
Zakkour later offered an explanation for her actions, saying, “Mr. Patry has been acting like a dictator on our board for years, and last night I had enough of his demands of total obedience.”
Zakkour further defended herself by saying, “My reaction last night was symbolic and a sarcastic gesture of submission to a board officer acting as a dictator. Enough is enough. What happened yesterday was a culmination of four years of being badgered and bullied and being misrepresented.”
Was it Zakkour?
In the end, Patry did not clarify whether Zakkour’s actions impacted his decision to resign. Patry only said, “At this time, I would like to announce that effective at midnight tonight, I will be resigning from the school board of education.”
Despite Zakkour’s attempt to justify her actions, other board members did not share her perspective.
Richard Mains, another board member, said, “We lost a very good board member last night because of his moving out of our school. Simon is really good person and he did a lot for our schools.”
The New Vice President
Amber Drum, who assumed the role of vice president following Patry’s departure, condemned Zakkour’s behavior. Drim said, “At Tipp City Schools, our district motto is ‘Where Excellence is a Tradition,’ and we ask those in our district to follow the 3 pillars ‘Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and to have Integrity.”
Following on her point about the district motto, Drum stated, “Those expectations were not met by Mrs. Zakkour’s actions at last night’s board meeting. I was unaware that the ‘Salute’ was made until I went back to watch the meeting. Her actions were of her own accord and in no way reflect my beliefs as a board member. I am shocked by her lack of professionalism.”
Drum then concluded her thoughts by saying, “As far as comments Mrs. Zakkour has made in regard to Mr. Patry, I feel Mr. Patry is a very kind, helpful, and a respectful member of the Board. I have never felt bullied by him or been made to feel less than by anything he has said to me.”
It seems other people seeing the situation sympathize with Patry. One social media user commented, “The man was talking and she interrupted. None of this would have happened if she understood meeting etiquette. He had the floor, let him speak. You can spout your nonsense when he’s done. When you have the floor, you get to speak your peace without interruption.”
It seems another user did some research of their own and found Zakkour to be the truly problematic board member.
They stated, “There have been petitions put out because of her micromanagement, before this. Showing her lack of edicate (sic). The “little” saluting incident is only another confirmation of that lacking and her contempt for established meeting protocol and respect for others.”
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