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January 10, 2013

Chair keeps tight rein on meeting

Teacher led to seat by police after passing 3-minute time limit

Thursday, January 10, 2013 — Two individuals spoke during the public comments portion of the January Board of Education regular meeting; one of these people finished their comments, the other was escorted away from the podium by an officer of the law.

First, James Policastro urged the school board to utilize the redistricting study that they had conducted a couple of months ago. He cited a shelved feasability study from a couple of years ago, intimating that he didn’t want the redistricting study to go to waste as the feasability study did.

Second to speak was Teresa Crump.

She addressed the school board calmly, reading excerpts from an article in Forbes that identified the New Year’s resolutions of successful people.

The first resolution was to make a list of things not to do, so that one can focus on the most important tasks.

“In Stanly County schools, our students matter the most,” Crump said.

She continued to read resolutions and after each one Crump relayed how the school board should have the welfare of the students in Stanly County as its primary focus in the upcoming year.

As Crump was reading her resolutions, she ran out of time.

In accordance with Policy 1095, at each regularly scheduled board meeting 15 minutes shall be set aside on the board agenda for the residents of Stanly County to make public comments pertinent to Stanly County Schools. Comments are limited to three minutes per individual and are regulated by state and board policy.

Chairman Melvin Poole notified Crump of her lapsing timeframe at 2:22 into the alotted speaking time.

As she continued to read resolutions and relate them to the board, Crump went over the 3-minute mark.

At 3:19 Crump directly addressed the board, “I’m almost finished.”

“I think you’re finished now,” Poole said.

With that Poole summoned a police officer to escort Crump away from the podium.

“You’re not being recognized right now,” Poole said to Crump as she continued to read, unfazed.

At three minutes and 50 seconds, Crump trailed off as she was escorted back to her seat, though she squeezed in every word she could before the officer reached her.

Crump thanked the school board and wished them a happy new year once she was seated.

“Three minutes is three minutes... We appreciate you keeping it under three minutes,” Poole said.

Crump commented on the night’s events Wednesday afternoon.

“My purpose for sharing was to personalize each resolution for Stanly County Schools. I had hoped to encourage the board to always put our students first,” she wrote in an email to The Stanly News & Press.

“I read aloud my comments before the meeting to check my time — I knew I only had three minutes.

“I had too much information, so I did leave out a few of the resolutions when I addressed the board.

“I do think, however, that with the limited agenda that we had and the intent of my message, I might be allowed just a few more seconds. I understand why rules are made and am not a disrespectful person.

“I’m sure Mr. Poole did what was protocol.”

Poole was contacted, but was unavailable to comment as of press time.

 

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