meeting next week will consider returning to three-minute speaking time limit
WATCH: During the Brevard Public Schools board meeting on May 10, 2022, a policy was passed to restrict the speaking time of individual speakers. Brevard Public Schools Board Chairman Matt Susin is calling a special meeting next week to get approval on returning the full three-minute speaking time to citizens wishing to address the school board.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard Public Schools Board Chairman Matt Susin is calling a special meeting next week to get approval on returning the full three-minute speaking time to citizens wishing to address the school board.
During the school board meeting on May 10, 2022, a policy was passed 4-1, with all board members voting to restrict the speaking time of individual speakers, except for Susin, who voted against the measure.
The policy, 0169.1 Public Participation in School Board Meetings, reduced the speaking time for each citizen from three minutes to one minute, depending on the number of speakers signed up on that night. The policy also prohibited speakers from addressing individual board members.
“I truly believe that there has been a disconnect between the school system and the community,” said Susin.
“This policy, which I fought and voted against, fosters this disconnect. Our citizens prepare a speech, take time away from their families, travel to the school board building, and then step to the podium, and then discover their time reduced to a fraction of what was expected. Since the policy was enacted, I have watched students, staff, parents, and concerned community members fumble their speeches and get cut off. This is unacceptable, and I will put forward a motion to end the current policy to give the public the previous and more appropriate timeframe to speak on their issue.”
Voting on the upcoming possible change in the speaking policy will be recently seated Brevard Public Schools board members Gene Trent who represents District 2, and Megan Wright, who defeated Misty Belford in District 1.
“I will always advocate for freedom of speech, transparency, and accountability from all forms of government,” said Wright. “If we want to rebuild community trust, we must foster an environment that welcomes communication.”
District 3 BPS Board Member Jennifer Jenkins and District 5’s Katye Campbell both voted previously to restrict the time of individual speakers.
RELATED STORY: Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey, BPS Chair Matt Susin Announce New Discipline Policy for Public Schools
WATCH: Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, Brevard Public Schools Board Chair Matt Susin and State Attorney Phil Archer detailed a new plan to deal with disruptive classroom environments that distract BPS teachers and students.