The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 2:48 pm

NACS bylaw revisions target disruptive behavior

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Proposed revisions to a Northwest Allen County Schools bylaw about public participation at board meetings makes clear that disruptive, intimidating and threatening behavior won't be tolerated.

The use of profanities, raised voices, threatening gestures and physical force – or the threat of force – are among the unacceptable behaviors that may result in removal from the meeting and/or the meeting being recessed or adjourned, according to a draft presented Monday to the board during a first reading.

Superintendent Chris Himsel read the document during a meeting conducted exclusively virtually.

The board – which has attracted disruptive, unruly audiences in recent months – began meeting online Oct. 13 and held its first meeting without public comment Sept. 27.

"The board expects that all persons attending its meetings – including, but not limited to, members of the public who wish to speak during a portion of a meeting reserved for public comment – to treat all other persons with civility, courtesy and respect," Himsel read. "This expectation in no way prohibits critical or unpopular comments."

The proposed changes also shift some power from meetings' presiding officer – typically the board president – to the board.

For example, updated language indicates public participation shall be allowed at the board's discretion, not the presiding officer's.

Nov. 22 is the earliest the board could vote on the revisions.

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