The Associated Press reports that an Oklahoma Board of Education official is under fire after questioning the hiring of a pregnant woman. Upon hearing that the school board opted to hire Jessica Russell, who is set to give birth in April, former State Senator Herb Rozell remarked “If she has that baby in April and takes off six weeks, she’s worthless to us. She won’t be able to keep up.” The remark, made in front of the Board of Education and Ms. Russell, garnered some awkward laughter. Superintendent Janet Barresi quickly ordered a 10 minute recess and told Mr. Rozell “Your comment is inappropriate and not worthy of this board and this department.” Ms. Russell left the room in tears.
After the meeting Mr. Rozell claimed, “I didn’t mean to interfere. I was just hoping we could have her in April and May, because that’s when everything gets tied up.” Ms. Russell is to represent the Department of Education at the Capitol. According to the Associated Press “The Oklahoma Legislature reconvenes Feb. 7 and must end its business by May 27.” Ms. Russell was shocked by the comment and said she “felt humiliated and insulted. [She] couldn’t believe something like that would be said at a public meeting.” Mr. Rozell’s remark has caused numerous people to call for his resignation, including Senator Clark Jolley and Senator John Ford. Mr. Rozell has publicly stated that he would like to apologize to Ms. Russell in person, which she says is a “possibility.”
Photo thanks to Lina