“Willfully disruptive” and “unduly repetitious” public speakers could be ejected from the podium under a proposed policy to be considered today by the Clark County School Board.
The board will review speaker guidelines that were revised after an earlier proposal to prohibit “inflammatory” and “hateful” speech was criticized for curbing free speech.
School Board Vice President Carolyn Edwards said the earlier plan “was extreme” and will not be coming back for consideration.
The latest proposal is directed more toward a speaker’s conduct rather than the content of the speaker’s remarks, Edwards said.
“People who come to speak at a meeting should be respectful,” she said. “They don’t have to like us, they don’t have to agree with us, but they should be civil.”
The revised proposal says: “Public comments must be relevant to and within the authority of the Clark County School District Board of Trustees. The Board may prohibit comments if the comments become unduly repetitious or the speaker’s behavior is willfully disruptive and interferes with the proceedings of the Board.”
The board will meet at 4 p.m. at the Greer Education Center, 2832 E. Flamingo Road.
The proposal suggests requiring a speaker to get consent from the board president or a board majority to continue if the speaker needs more than three minutes.
Currently, any board member can grant an additional two minutes to the public speaker.
Edwards said the changes will put the School Board in alignment with the speaker policies of the other public boards, such as the Clark County Commission and the Las Vegas City Council.
The guidelines are included in a larger proposal to allow public comment before each agenda item instead of having one period of public comment at the start of the meeting.
Marzette Lewis, a critic at board meetings and member of the Westside Action Alliance Korps-Uplifting People, said she hopes the board does not consider criticism to be “disruptive” speech.
Also, Lewis considered the policy to be hypocritical because, she said, School Board members have been rude to her or chastised her at meetings.
“What am I supposed to do when they act the fool? Call the police?” Lewis asked.
Contact reporter James Haug at email@example.com or 702-374-7917.