A new law gives local boards until Oct. 1 to approve rules regarding public comment. Democrats said the law was redundant. But Republicans who proposed the bill said it would prevent parents from being treated unfairly because of their political views. School board meetings nationwide have become an arena for people to debate issues around race, gender and politics. Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said that hasn’t been an issue in Cobb County.
“Generally speaking though, in my history, I’ve never seen the chair have to do anything other than say, ‘We need to have order,’” he said.
At the July meeting where attendees stood and chanted, board members briefly left the room before returning and finishing the meeting.
The rules were approved with a slight amendment suggested by Hutchins and Howard. It specifically prohibits abusive, obscene, profane, vulgar, defamatory or slanderous language or gestures, threats, blocking the entrance or exit of any person, and jeers, shouting or disruptive noises.
If those rules are violated, the board chair could issue a verbal warning or direction, recess or adjourn the meeting, remove someone from a meeting and prohibit them from attending future meetings, involve law enforcement, or continue the meeting virtually.
Board member Charisse Davis voted against the policy.