School Board discusses public participation at meetings

On September 14, the MCCSC School Board hosted a special meeting to discuss the topic of public participation at board meetings.

In most public forums, members of the community can comment on and ask any questions that they feel are important. Currently, this is still the policy of the MCCSC board meetings, but there is a possibility that rules will be implemented to control the topics of discussion during public comment. 

During the Aug. 24 meeting, when the board opened the discussion to the public, the conversation shifted from discussing the MCCSC 2022 budget details to the topic of masks. The meeting became tense when one community member voiced her concern about her child wearing a mask on the bus. After being asked to wear her mask at the stand and refusing, the woman became extremely combative and the board had to take a short recess so that she could be escorted from the property. 

In hopes to avoid similar conflicts like this in the future, the school board is discussing making the public comment portion of the meeting monitored so that only questions related to the current meeting will be permitted. The board released a draft of the possible rules that will be voted on at the next meeting, but some board members have already expressed concerns about limiting the voice of the public. 

The board is also considering leaving this option up for discussion in the future. Although they may not want to take action right now, the board is not ready to completely dismiss the idea. School boards across the U.S having been facing increasingly more hostile community members as a result of the pandemic and issues surrounding COVID-19. Currently the board will vote on these rules at the next meeting but there has been talk of postponing.