3 Minutes AFTER our meeting. Your Welcome! School boards would do well to listen to public comments — no matter how long it takes to hear them
June 23 — A report from a Loudon County School Board meeting last night resulted in two arrests and public comments being shut down.
Loudon County is in Virginia, near Leesburg, and has been on the news stream for a few months now because of their progressive push on transgender issues.
More than 200 residents had signed up to speak at the public comment session at last night’s Loudon County School Board meeting.
The board was looking to adopt policies that would go into effect the next school year, including using gender generic pronouns in the classroom as well as policies on bathroom accommodations.
The parents were there to have their voices heard.
The school board voted unanimously during the meeting to stop hearing public comments, so not a lot of the 200+ people there were able to say anything.
It was essentially mayhem at a public meeting.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll joined Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen to talk public comments this morning on First News.
Barkdoll said, “These school boards need to get a handle on what’s going on. They have become so disconnected from our real world. They are catering to a very, very small segment of the population and in doing so, they are ignoring and overlooking what the vast majority of the population wants and I think that’s what you saw manifest last night in Loudon county.”
Ryan agreed, “Amen. It goes to a national dialogue as well. The disconnect on these lawmakers. 500 and change that are in charge of the world in Washington that are totally disconnected from us.”
Locally, Jansen attended the Chambersburg Area School Board meeting last night which also had an issue with public comments.
Jansen explained, “Last night there was a vote taken at the beginning trying to move the public comments from non agenda to the beginning of the meeting, which was voted down by our local school board here.”
Ryan said, “You ask the school board and these arrogant, erudite snobs to move the public comment to the beginning of it and it gets shut down.”
Jansen pointed out, “The non agenda ones. They put that to the bitter end of the meeting.”
Ryan added, “Meanwhile the very people that put you into office, you don’t want to hear from them until the end of the meeting.”
Barkdoll said, “This is all by design because this is a trick school boards have been pulling for years. Often times what they’ll do, during the meeting they’ll call an executive session that may go for an hour or two and if you’re there, you’re a working person, you’ve got daycare issues, you’re not going to sit for three or four hours to make your two minute comment at the end of the meeting. It’s ridiculous. It quells public participation. All of these public boards should put public comments item number one on the agenda.”
Ryan said, “Hey Kevin. Hey Sally. Hey Dr. Dana, what are you afraid of? Put the damn comments at the beginning of the meeting. Shame on all of you.”
Jansen explained, “They said the reason was…we only have so much time to get the business that’s already on the agenda done. So he’s trying to say if it’s not on the agenda, I want you to wait until the end. When I tried to talk last night, I waited until the end and I brought up the Critical Race Theory argument that we had had back in April and what I had found out about that. It’s just that they kind of dismissed it and said we’re not doing that anymore. All that stuff I got Right to Know from the Intermediate Unit, oh we’re not engaging with that anymore. We’ve changed it up. We’re going to do it a different way. And then we got no explanation about what they’re doing. this is really important to people. You are elected to represent the people of the constituency.”
With maybe seven people in attendance last night, a few of the members suggested moving the public comment session up in the agenda, but it was voted down.
Jansen said, “There’s a tone deafness now. Admonish the people speaking, as well. You do need to follow the rules. Don’t keep going on and on beyond the time. Change your rules. Make it so we have more than three minutes. It’s very hard to say very much in three minutes.”
Barkdoll said, “It’ll be interesting to see if anything changes in Loudon County. That board last night got a loud and clear message from the public that this has gone too far. They need to reign them in. Another problem locally…we know that there is no press anymore at any of these local school board meetings. You don’t see anything about the budgets that have been recently adopted. You don’t hear anything about proposals. I think these boards are using that to their advantage. They know no one is there watching the store for the most part at many of these local school boards, so they’re setting their own rules, they’re getting no push back, nothing gets pushed back to the public to report on it. And that’s is when you start getting into bad governance.”