CARMEL, Ind. — Starting October 4, the Carmel Clay School Board will be holding their meetings virtually until further notice.
In a statement released by CCS on Thursday afternoon, it was stated that the reason for this change came from the “disruptive behavior of adults at this week’s regular meeting” and continuous harassment from an outside group targeting teachers and school board members.
“School board meetings have become a lightning rod for contention because they are public. Some believe the loudest in the room or those with the most media attention will ‘win’ an argument in today’s charged climate,” the board wrote. “We will no longer allow our board meetings to be a means to divide our community.”
The disruptions among adults included things like booing, name-calling, accusing the board of “silencing” parents despite having four separate opportunities to speak, heckling, making threats and claiming their behavior is protected by law because the board “works for them.”
“We know of no workplace that would tolerate this form of mistreatment from any boss or supervisor,” CCS wrote. “And we especially refuse to let them target our teachers and staff.”
CCS cited various attacks of targeted harassment and threats against their teachers and staff from this outside group to include publicly posting names, addresses, classrooms and other private information that poses a threat to them and students. Recently, it was stated that this outside group has targeted their mental health coordinator.
“We typically would not engage or comment on outside groups but felt our parents and community needed to know the inappropriate activities we are experiencing,” CCS wrote. “Board members have had their home addresses posted in acts of intimidation. Teachers have received letters and emails with threats of violence and unwarranted references to family members. School librarians and media specialists have been steadily under attack with accusations. We must return to civility and question those who find these tactics appropriate.”
When the announcement was posted on their Facebook, the news was met with overwhelmingly supportive reactions.
“THANK YOU Carmel Clay Schools!!!” commented user Amal Anthony on the post. “The time to publicly take a stand against these bullies is long overdue, and the dedicated and involved parents who are actually here in the schools support you!! We have, and continue to be, a high performing school district with great students and involved parents, and these outside influences won’t change who and what Carmel is – a diverse and welcoming community for all! Thank you thank you thank you for speaking up!!!!”
“There is a ‘silent’ (and more respectful) majority supporting you, CCS board and administration! Thank you for all you do!” commented another user, Tiffany Rydz.
Dozens of other comments echo this joy, whether it be with gratitude, relief or just happy GIFs posted in reaction. The post had over 400 likes and nearly 100 shares after an hour of being posted.
CCS stated they will continuously reevaluate the need for live streams and inform the community of any changes.