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Policies » Section B: School Board Governance & Operations » BEDH: Public Participation At Board Meetings

Policy Date: 01/18/2022

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The primary purpose of School Board meetings is to conduct the business of the Board as it relates to school policies, programs and operations. The Board encourages residents to attend Board meetings so that they may become acquainted with the operation and programs of the schools. All official meetings of the Board shall be open to the press and public. However, the Board reserves the right to meet and to adjourn or recess a meeting at any time. The Board also reserves the right to enter non-public session at any time, in accordance with the provisions RSA 91-A:3.

In order to assure that persons who wish to appear before the Board may be heard and, at the same time, it may conduct its meetings properly and efficiently, the Board adopts as policy the following procedures and rules pertaining to public participation at Board meetings:
1. The Board will provide a maximum of fifteen minutes to hear public comments at the beginning of each regular Board meeting. This period may be extended by a majority vote of the Board. Additionally, the Board may include additional public comment period for specific agenda items with a time limit for public comment specified on the pertinent agenda.
2. Two times will be set aside for citizens to address the Board and will be noted at both the beginning and the end of the agenda. Speakers will be allotted three minutes per person.
3. Any individual desiring to speak shall give his or her name, address, and the group, if any, that is represented.
4. Consistent with RSA 91-A:3, Policy BEDB, and the laws pertaining to student and family privacy rights, the Board will not place any matter on the public agenda that is to be properly discussed in a non-public session. Complaints regarding individual employees, personnel or students will be directed to the Superintendent in accord with Policies KE and KEB.
5. All speakers are to conduct themselves in a civil manner. Obscene, libelous, defamatory or violent statements will be considered out of order and will not be tolerated. The Board Chair may terminate the speaker’s privilege of address if the speaker does not follow this rule of order.

Persons appearing before the Board are reminded that members of the Board are without authority to act independently as individuals in official matters. Thus, questions may be directed to individual Board members, but answers must be deferred pending consideration by the full Board.

Legal Reference:
RSA 91-A:2, Meetings Open to the Public, RSA 91-A:3, Non-Public Sessions, U.S. Const., 1st Amendment

Adopted: September 6, 1983
Revised: October 12, 1999
Revised: December 4, 2012
Revised: January 22, 2019
Revised: January 18, 2022