Woman tossed out of Sarasota County School Board meeting speaks with ABC7

Woman escorted out of school board meeting in Sarasota following heated exchange.
Woman escorted out of school board meeting in Sarasota following heated exchange.(WWSB)
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 4:35 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A woman says that her removal from a Sarasota County School Board meeting on Tuesday was unjustified.

The woman was removed from the meeting by Sarasota County School Board Chair Jane Goodwin. The woman, who identified herself as Melissa Bakondy, spoke with ABC7 about the incident and wanted to tell her side of the story.

An exchange between the pair led Goodwin to toss the woman out of the meeting. The woman was escorted out by officers with the Sarasota County Schools Police Department.

“We had a person who was speaking, who was out of order,” said Goodwin. “She was talking about personal issues, abuse and making comments that weren’t true about board members.”

Bakondy reached out to ABC7, saying that her first amendment rights had been violated and disagreed with Goodwin’s statements that she had done anything disruptive.

”I was interrupted in the middle of my public comment. I believe my first amendment rights were trampled on actually,” said Bakondy.

The school board policy does state that if there is a disruption of any kind that the school board chair does have the power to have a person removed from a meeting, but Bakondy said the video from the incident clearly showed she wasn’t being disruptive.

“We have the right to petition our government. It doesn’t matter if we criticize them or give them praise. as a public official they should be able to feel criticism and praise,” Bakondy said.

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