Carmel school board proposes a new “civility” policy

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Carmel, Ind. — The Carmel Clay School Board is considering a new policy aimed at “maintaining a supportive learning environment free from disruptive conduct”.

In August, Carmel schools suspended public comments at its school board meetings. At the time Carmel Clay Schools Superintendent, Dr. Michael Beresford said “We’ve had some struggles with public comment recently.” He went on to say, “We had a pretty volatile crowd and a handgun that was dropped onto the floor, a real scary moment.”

For months, tensions and public debate have been building over mask mandates, claims of Critical Race Theory being taught in schools and library books deemed by some as being sexually explicit and inappropriate for school children. 

The school board says the proposed policy is for CCS employees, students, parents, guardians and other members of the public. They’re expected to treat one another with respect at all Carmel Clay programs, activities, whether on school grounds or at school-sponsored events.

According to a draft FOX59 got from the district, disruptive behavior includes, but is not limited to:

a. Actions taken or words conveyed with the purpose to intimidate, threaten, or harass;
b. Using profanities or obscenities;
c. Raising one’s voice above an appropriate level;
d. Personal attacks;
e. Gesturing in a manner that causes one to fear for their safety;
f. Invading, or remaining in one’s personal space after being asked to move away;
g. Physically blocking others from moving about freely; or
h. Using physical force, or threat of physical force.

Any time a parent, guardian or member of the public displays disruptive behavior, it will be documented and sent to the Director of Student Services. If the situation is deemed serious enough, the person could be issued a no-trespass order.

Any Carmel Clay employees or students who behave in an uncivil matter can be disciplined based on negotiated agreements, employee handbooks and the student code of conduct.

The school board will vote on the changes on September 27th. But, the board does not anticipate bringing back public comment until October.

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