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NACS board hears first read of proposed new public comment bylaw


The Northwest Allen County Schools board of trustees read the first version of an update to its public participation bylaws on Monday.

The meeting was held virtually without public comment for the second time this month. The change in format came after the district announced it would be suspending public comment following security concerns from the Allen County Sheriff’s Department.

The district said the change would only persist until the board decided how to hold meetings with public comment safely.

In an interview with WOWO earlier this month, chief deputy for the sheriff’s department Troy Hershberger said the department never directed the school on how to conduct meetings.

Superintendent Chris Himsel sent out a letter to parents in response quoting emails from the department’s school resource officers expressing concern over the safety of everyone at board meetings.

The updated bylaw includes a rule limiting public comment to 30 minutes, unless the board votes to extend the time. Earlier this year, the board heard nearly three hours of public comment regarding both masks and controversial comments made by board members.

The new bylaw would restrict participants from ceding their time to others who wish to speak longer than the two minute duration.

The policy also restricts the presiding board member’s ability to waive the rules stated in the bylaw without majority approval from the rest of the board. and includes expectations for how members of the public conduct themselves during meetings.

NACS_ Revised Public Comment Policy 0167.3(21099339.2) by Ella Abbott on Scribd

Letter to Parents Regarding Board Meeting Safety and SEL 20211015 by Ella Abbott on Scribd

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.
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