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Ky. GOP lawmaker wants to require public comment at school board meetings

House Education Committee Chair Regina Huff
House Majority Leadership Officer

Kentucky House Education Committee Chair Rep. Regina Huff, a Republican, has introduced legislation to require local school boards to hold at least 15 minutes of public comment at their regular monthly meetings.

“A majority of our school leaders encourage parental involvement and already welcome community input, but there are always bad actors with misguided policies. My bill is about empowering parents and students, especially when it comes to classroom issues like curriculum or how to combat the pandemic,” the Whitley County Republican is quoted as saying in a press release from the House leadership office.

Huff’s bill comes as school boards across the country grapple with heated discussions over COVID-19 measures and curriculum that centers Black voices and other marginalized groups. Both COVID measures and inclusive curriculum have become targets of ire on the right, and school boards have sometimes struggled to maintain order when parents and activists arrive to speak on these highly politicized topics. 

The Jefferson County Board of Education hasn’t held in-person comment since October over concerns meetings were becoming too heated. The board diverted public comment to email after an October board meeting devolved into a shouting match and law enforcement became concerned about possible violence.

Now, the board is considering a new policy that would codify its authority to waive public comment to email. That policy has a preliminary vote Tuesday.

Huff prefiled the legislation in December. It was introduced in the House on Jan. 4, the first day of the 2022 legislative session.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.

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