Move prompted by irate parents' actions
Trustees with the Rainbow District School Board will debate a motion at their Nov. 27 meeting which, if passed, would limit videotaping of board proceedings.
Members of the media and those who have permission from the board would still be allowed to film at meetings.
Doreen Dewar, the school board's chair, said the introduction of the motion stem from the actions of those upset about the closure last spring of Long Lake Public School. The parents of a former Long Lake student began videotaping board meetings.
No parents of former Long Lake students were present at the Oct. 23 meeting, where the notice of motion dealing with the video ban was tabled.
Dewar said she presented the notice of motion herself after receiving complaints from her fellow trustees.
“One of the trustees mentioned the fact that he felt that he didn't want to be as candid as what he was when they weren't taping,” she said.
When asked why the media would be allowed to film while the general public wouldn't, unless they get permission, Dewar said the board generally knows what the media's intent is when they're filming.
“If you have anybody off the street coming in and taping, how do we know what the intent is?” she asked.
“With the technology now, it's not the way it was years ago when you had a camera. You had to splice things together. You couldn't have it on YouTube within 15 minutes and doctor it in any way you want.”
Before putting together the motion, Dewar contacted other school boards in the province, and asked what their policies were on the filming of board proceedings.
“There's boards right across the province that said they either had an actual bylaw that says no videotaping of their meetings, or they had never had it happen, so they had never addressed it,” she said.
“But the chairs of those boards said if it happened on a regular basis, they would do it.”
The other large school board in the region, the Sudbury Catholic District School Board, already has a similar bylaw in place, Dewar said.
This is actually the second time irate Long Lake parents have caused Rainbow board trustees to change their bylaws.
A handful of parents had made numerous presentations to the board about why the school should remain open.
According to a new rule passed at the board's Feb. 28 meeting, individuals or delegations wishing to present at school board meetings are only allowed to speak on the same topic twice.
Those wishing to make a presentation to the board must also now apply in writing at least 16 days before the meeting. The previous rule didn't specify a timeline for when those wishing to speak before the board must apply.
As well, a copy of the presentation must be provided at least 12 calendar days — up from 10 calendar days — before the meeting.
Dewar told Northern Life at the time that many of the presentations made by the Long Lake parents were largely “repetitive,” and they also sometimes made “disparaging remarks” about trustees and board staff.