An Ohio school board meeting took a shocking turn this week after two members got into a heated exchange, leading one of those involved in the dispute to give a Nazi salute to the board’s president.
During the Tipp City Board of Education meeting Tuesday evening, the board members found themselves involved in a back-and-forth over the transparency of the board’s actions and votes of approval for projects.
While discussing the issue, Tipp City School Board of Education President Simon Patry, who resigned from his position after the meeting, was briefly interrupted by fellow board member Anne Zakkour.
“I’m talking, do not interrupt me, do not make any noises or else I will, I will not tolerate it. Stop talking,” Patry told Zakkour, according to footage from the meeting.
“Oh, Sieg Heil,” Zakkour responded as she raised her arm toward Patry in a Nazi-style salute.
Patry, along with other members of the board, did not react to Zakkour’s gesture and continued speaking.
Following the meeting, Zakkour provided a statement to Dayton’s WDTN about the “sarcastic” gesture and suggested Patry was behaving like a “dictator.”
“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 told the outlet. “He has cost this district thousands of dollars in baseless allegations and a witch hunt against me and two other women. My reaction last night was symbolic and a sarcastic gesture of submission to a board officer acting as a dictator. Enough is enough!”
Zakkour, who did not appear to be in any danger at the meeting, also told the outlet that sitting next to Patry was “horrifying and scary.”
“Sitting next to him was horrifying and scary wondering what he was going to do … beat me or smack me or call for another censure,” she said, according to the outlet. “This type of aggression and hostility from Mr. Patry shouldn’t be tolerated. It looks like a domestic abuse situation where the person standing up for herself gets demonized.”
At the end of the board meeting, Patry announced his resignation board president.
“At this time, I would like to announce that effective at midnight tonight, I will be resigning from the school board of education,” Patry said.
While it is unclear whether his resignation had anything to do with Zakkour’s gesture, Patry later offered a motion to have the board’s vice president, Amber Drum, assume his role as the board’s president for the rest of the calendar year.
“I was just in complete and utter shock that it was something that was done in such a public forum,” Josh Dziedzicki, a resident of Tipp City, told WDTN. “It’s not something that would be tolerated within the school district by a student or other administrators. And it’s not something that we should just give someone a pass on because someone was speaking to them in a, I guess, aggressive manner.”
Dunn was installed as the board’s interim president and board member Richard Maines Sr. filled the role of vice president. The changes were quickly reflected on the school district’s website.
Earlier this year, Oregon state Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson, a Republican, faced pressure to resign after a photo of her son giving a Nazi salute next to a World War II German airplane surfaced.