TIPP CITY, Ohio (WDTN) — A Tipp City Board of Education work session turned heated Tuesday night.
During the meeting, former board president, Simon Patry, and current member, Anne Zakkour, got into a tense exchange. Video shows Zakkour lifting her arm in the Nazi salute and saying ‘Sieg Heil,’ which is a German phrase used by Nazis.
The rest of the meeting went on as normal, but by Wednesday morning, word spread about what happened. Josh Dziedzicki lives in Tipp City and said he is disappointed by the video.
“I was just in complete and utter shock that it was something that was done in such a public forum,” Dziedzicki said.
Dziedzicki said this type of behavior is unacceptable no matter what else was going on during the meeting.
“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,” Dziedzicki explained.
2 News reached out to members of the board of education, including Anne Zakkour. She provided a statement saying quite:
“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. 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!
Prior to my gesture, if you watch the video in full context, you will hear Mr. Patry in a harsh threatening tone say the following; “I’m talking.” “ Do not interrupt me.” Clearly I wasn’t interrupting or talking when he made these remarks. “Do not make any noises or I will…” Then he said I won’t tolerate it.” “ Stop Talkin.”
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. He already called for my censure then removed it because I tried to speak in discussion portion of Roberts rules as a board member.
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. Furthermore Mr. Patry’s own micro aggressive behavior, shouting, tone, and negative body language that’s been going on for the past couple years goes uncriticized.
The double standard is enough. We all have an equal seat at the Board table and should all be respected equally.Anne Zakkour, Tipp City school board member
Patry, who stepped down from the school board Tuesday night for unrelated reasons, said he saw Zakkour make the gesture, but did not want to create any more disruptions. He called Zakkour’s claims against him ‘lies.’
“I think it’s somebody trying to justify and excusing behavior that can’t be justified,” Patry said.
Amber Drum was voted as the new board president Tuesday night. She said she did not see Zakkour make the gesture, but was shocked by Zakkour’s actions.
“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.” 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.
As far as comments Mrs. Zakkour has made in regards 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.”Amber Drum, Tipp City Board of Education President
Vice President of the Board, Richard Mains, also condemned Zakkour’s behavior. He said quote: “This is truly embarrassing. Her actions are completely those of Mrs. Zakkour and in no way reflect the opinions of the other board members who attended this meeting.”
While Patry is no longer with the board, he hopes the community can heal and move forward from this incident.
“We’re a good place to be. And what happened in that meeting last night doesn’t represent the values of Tipp City,” Patry said.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton also responded to this incident. CEO Cathy Gardner said she does not believe Zakkour had antisemitic intent but believes there needs to be a deeper understanding of what the gesture means and why it is hurtful.
“This incident is a reminder of how damaging words and actions can be. The Holocaust took theCathy Gardner, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton
lives of over 12 million people, over half of whom were Jewish. All were persecuted and murdered for being “other” or “different.” Flippant, casual references to Hitler, the Nazi regime, or the Holocaust grossly diminish the tragedy that still affects so many. Seeing this image splashed in the news in reference to a disagreement at a board meeting desensitizes people to the terror that ensued at the command of Hitler.”