A North Carolina school board has three words for parents who are concerned about and wish to play a role in their children’s education:
Shut Up, Extremists.
According to The North State Journal, the Orange County Public Schools board of education chair had parents and other members of the public thrown out of an Oct. 11 board meeting by Orange County sheriffs’ deputies. The stated reason for the ejections was that speakers were not talking about approved topics that were on the agenda.
People trying to participate were also searched with metal detectors and told they could not congregate on the premises of A.L. Stanback Middle School, where the meeting took place.
Several times during the meeting, board chair Hillary Mackenzie declared, “you cannot talk on that topic,” before motioning for deputies to remove a speaker. The removals were met with loud booing.
“If you don’t speak about agenda items you will be asked to leave,” Mackenzie was heard repeating several times, only she appeared to be making up the rules, as the district’s policy manual does not dictate what a speaker can or can’t talk about. It bars only personal information, student information or targeting a specific board member with a grievance.
Shouts from the audience were frequent during the meeting, and when speakers attempted to speak on a topic that definitely was on the agenda, a resolution to “address harm caused to students by incidents of hostile and racist behavior,” Mackenzie gaveled them out of order and had them escorted out by deputies.
Written by Mackenzie and Orange County schools superintendent Monique Felder, the resolution in question decries racism and white nationalist organizations, praises Black Lives Matter and references a “growing presence of white nationalist displays and intimidating behavior, including bigoted, misogynistic, racist, homophobic and transphobic language” used against the board and minority and LGBT students.
An Orange County parent who asked not to be identified said: “the entire goal of the resolution is to paint rightly concerned and outraged parents as extremists.”