Wednesday, February 26, 2014

School Board Wrong To Exclude Citizens From Thursday's Vote

From North Carolina General Statutes covering Open Meetings of public bodies:
§ 143-318.9.  Public policy.
Whereas the public bodies that administer the legislative, policy-making, quasi-judicial, administrative, and advisory functions of North Carolina and its political subdivisions exist solely to conduct the people's business, it is the public policy of North Carolina that the hearings, deliberations, and actions of these bodies be conducted openly. (1979, c. 655, s. 1.)
§ 143-318.10.  All official meetings of public bodies open to the public.
(a)        Except as provided in G.S. 143-318.11, 143-318.14A, and 143-318.18, each official meeting of a public body shall be open to the public, and any person is entitled to attend such a meeting.
The Watauga County School Board decided that attendance at Thursday's meeting, when a final decision will be made regarding the banning of a novel from sophomore English honors classes, will be limited to those who'll be able to snag a "ticket" of admission to be given out at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The School Board managed somehow to get access to the High School auditorium for a previous public hearing on the book in question. They should do that again. In fact, they must do that again to be in compliance with North Carolina law governing open meetings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I noticed several comments on High Country Press page about this particular issue (ticketing). Since it is not a public hearing open to comment then should it really be moved? I think opening this up to more people would further divide the county on this issue. Sadly, the public comment meeting caused some teachers to receive threats which is wrong. Point is the county is divided over this. It doesn't have to be this way.

Someone had actually checked into ticketing issue (and still not sure why this is such a big deal to him except to stir up trouble)and it is not illegal.

The only people that will be permitted to speak to the Board of Education are the parent who has the objection and the teacher who is using the book.

In my opinion, based of what I understand about the book, the School Board has no choice but support the teacher. This book is required reading in many places for Honors English. I have not read the book; however, I certainly trust the teachers decision to use the book. When I look back at my education at Watauga High School, it was truly my English teachers who made the difference, allowing us to openly discuss matters from required reading. Their nurturing is a core of who I am today.