Sarasota County School Board meeting ends abruptly
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It’s become a common occurrence lately at Sarasota County School Board meetings. School board members say some parents are being disruptive, while those parents say they are upset because they are being censored. The latest incident forced school board Vice Chair Tom Edwards to cut the meeting short on Tuesday night.
“We always ensure that our citizens have the right to speak and we look forward to hearing their public comments,” said Edwards. “What we do not appreciate is disruption of school board business.”
The recent occurrence stemming from people being skipped over to speak during the agenda item comment portion of the meeting. Some of the people were told there were some discrepancies with their sign up cards. They were then instructed to wait outside until general comments, to be held at the end of the meeting.
North Port resident Michelle Pozzie and some others say the school board is threatening their freedom of speech at these meetings.
“There is a majority on the school board that wants to silence voices that do not fit the narrative that they like,” said Pozzie.
Edwards says there are no victims of free speech rights at Sarasota County School Board meetings.
“We’re often told that we work for them. Well, we work for all taxpayers in Sarasota County, and they look for us to run sound business meetings,” said Edwards.
Edwards says there were two warnings prior to him cutting the meeting short. Pozzie says all she wanted was her chance to speak when it was her turn. She says that she didn’t get that chance.
“We need to talk about the things that are going wrong, we need to talk about the problems,” said Pozzie. “We need to talk about the hemorrhaging budget, we need to talk about these things. If you would include the community, if you would include the parents, you could include the taxpayers, we can get through this together.”
Pozzie went on to say that she will continue to attend school board meetings and she says she will not be silenced. Edwards says he’s hopeful the focus at these meetings will shift back to where it belongs, the students.
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