BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member Connie Bernard was indeed online shopping for nearly an hour during a recent school board meeting that discussed the renaming of Lee High School, a review by the 9NEWS Investigators revealed.
Bernard has previously denied online shopping during the June 18 meeting, claiming her computer simply got a “pop up” ad that she failed to close, The Advocate newspaper reported.
WAFB obtained a copy of Bernard’s internet search history through a public records request.
Records show she was shopping for discounted women’s clothing on an online consignment and thrift store website named thredUP.
At one point, the records obtained by WAFB-TV show Bernard even added an item to her shopping cart.
Bernard began online shopping just before 8:30 p.m. as the board was discussing adding a new position at the school board office as well as a vendor for COVID-19 prevention products.
She continued her online shopping as the board next began discussing renaming Lee High, a school named after Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
She stopped shopping, however, by the time the public comment portion of the meeting started.
Bernard and other board members ultimately voted unanimously to rename the school.
Bernard became the target of national ridicule after former state senate candidate Gary Chambers posted a photo of her online shopping during the board meeting.
Chambers also brought up the photo as he addressed the board during public comment that night.
“You sat your arrogant self in here and sit on [the computer] shopping while the pain and the hurt of the people of this community is on display,” Chambers said at the meeting. “You should walk out of here and resign and never come back, because you are the example of racism in this community.”
Bernard was already being criticized by some for comments she made that implied members of the public needed to perform more research into Lee’s legacy before supporting the name change.
A petition to remove Bernard as a representative on the school board has since been launched. Twenty-five percent of people in Bernard’s district would need to sign the recall petition within the next three months for it to have an effect.
FuturePAC, a political action committee affiliated with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber has called on Bernard to resign.
Bernard has said she will not step down.