Michele Crncich Hodge, Mill Valley School District board trustee. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal) 

A Mill Valley School District trustee is under scrutiny after allegedly calling her colleagues “idiots” during an online board session.

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Superintendent Kimberly Berman said both video and audio feeds were left on during a break between two school board meetings on Jan. 13. The comments were heard by a number of people who later contacted her to inquire what was going on, she said.

According to Berman, trustee Michele Crncich Hodge was overheard saying: “Idiots. They’re all idiots.”

“I have affirmed that this statement is unacceptable and does not reflect the professionalism of our collective team or what I expect as a leader in discourse from our students, staff, parents or my team,” Berman said in an email to Todd May, the board president. “Nor does it reflect the collective board feelings about our staff or families and each other.”

May said the district was looking into what action to take in response.

“Whether these comments were intended to be made for herself to hear or directly to those staff and members of the public who were listening, they do not align with our district’s standards,” he said in an email.

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“The district is currently evaluating its options with the goal of addressing this conduct at the Feb. 10 regular board meeting,” he said.

Crncich Hodge said she did not recall making the statement but said if she said anything during a break that occurred between the open public meeting and the closed board session that followed, it was meant to be her private thoughts and were not directed at anyone in particular.

“I was definitely frustrated by the meeting that night,” she said. “But I think this incident is an opportunity for our board to provide full access to the public. We have nothing to corroborate it.”

The alleged statement by Crncich Hodge, along with the general conduct of the board that night, have become a tempest of discontent in social media among Mill Valley residents.

“I attended last night’s MVSD board meeting, and I came away pretty darned concerned,” Mill Valley volunteer and businessman Hugh Kuhn said in a post on NextDoor Mill Valley that has drawn dozens of responses.

“From board members disrespectfully interrupting their fellow board members, to what seems to me to be a lack of a general grasp of the role of the board or lack of clarity of how to professionally run a board meeting,” Kuhn said.

Other commenters complained that the district has cut back on public communication and participation of late. May said the board made changes regarding livestreaming and public participation at its Oct. 7 meeting. It was not clear if a decision was made to not record the meetings or to post them for access to replays.

Mill Valley Teachers Association co-president Erin Frazier said she did not hear Crncich Hodge make the alleged remark.

“I watched last week’s board meeting from start to finish and did not hear any concerning comments from trustee Crncich Hodge, nor have I heard any concerns from MVTA members regarding comments from trustee Crncich Hodge,” Frazier said in an email.

Crncich Hodge said no one from the district contacted her directly about the incident. She said she only found out that there was a controversy when questioned by a reporter, she said.

“I feel very much that our charge is to care for the young people in our district, and we need to work together,” she said. “For sure, I wish I had a recording of the meeting.”