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10:52 am
Sat January 29, 2011

State School Board Ruckus

Oklahoma City, Ok – Pregnant official 'shocked' at Rozell's comment

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The new legislative liaison at the Oklahoma Department of Education says she's "shocked" by a comment by a state Board of Education member who said she would be "worthless" in her position if she took immediate maternity leave.

Jessica Russell is expecting a baby in April. She told The Associated Press on Friday that she felt "humiliated and insulted" when former state Sen. Herb Rozell of Tahlequah asked a question during a board meeting Thursday about her plans to take maternity leave.

Rozell said, "If she has that child in April and takes off six weeks (in May), she's worthless to us."

Rozell said Friday he didn't mean to belittle Russell and would like to apologize to her in person. Russell says such a meeting is a "possibility."