ALPENA, Mich. — The board of education has a few reminders for people attending their meetings.
Board President Ned heath said public attendance at recent meetings dwarfed pre–pandemic numbers. Heath told WBKB he’s happy to see more community engagement, but he also has some concerns.
Disruptive behavior has caused problems at recent sessions. One source of tension has been people who ignore the three–minute cap on public comment. He asks attendees to respect the rules and says options exist for people with complex positions.
“If somebody feels they have more to say or more to present to the board, they can do that. They can call and request or email the board and request extra time to do an actual presentation to the board. Or they can meet with us individually; contact us by phone, email, anything like that.”
Heath said the time limit isn’t meant to stifle anyone’s speech. It’s a practical measure to keep the meeting moving.
Another problem has been cheering, jeering, and general heckling from the crowd. People have interrupted both speakers and the board itself. Heath asks that attendees follow the golden rule and allow people give their full statement.
“If you want the opportunity to speak, I don’t think you want to come up and have somebody else saying stuff behind, trying to interrupt. So give that same courtesy to whoever’s up there talking… Y’know we’re trying to set examples as adults and I think we need to do that. We need to show that not just by saying it, but by doing it.”
Heath emphasized that nobody should make personal callouts or attacks during their comments. A board meeting is not the place to air personal grievances.
Finally, he asks people not to have side conversations during statements or official business.