Fed-up Sarasota County school board bans criticism of members

·1 min read

The Sarasota County school board is sick and tired of hearing citizens complain, so it banned criticism of individual board members during meetings.

  • At a meeting last week, Vice Chairwoman Jane Goodwin — standing in for Chairwoman Shirley Brown, who lost control of the meeting — directed police to remove citizens who criticized specific elected officials during the public comment period, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

  • "This is not McCurdy's Comedy Club," Goodwin told the Herald-Tribune. "This is a professional board meeting ... It has to be tightened up in terms of what people are allowed to say."

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Yes, but: Even though board members explained that the open-ended verbal assaults were taking up time that could be spent on more productive debate, the move further riled some.

  • The board has "single-handedly activated and motivated every single mom, dad and voter in this county," said one man.

The big picture: School board meetings have become the new political arena nationwide, sometimes turning violent over hot-button culture war topics.

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