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BEDH Public Comment at School Committee Meetings

File:  BEDH 

All regular and special meetings of the School Committee shall be open to the public. 
Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District 

Executive sessions will be held only as prescribed by the Statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

The School Committee desires individuals to attend its meetings so that they may become better acquainted with the operations and the programs of our local public schools. In addition, the Committee would like the opportunity to hear public comment. 

Public comment is not a discussion, debate, or dialogue between individuals and the School Committee. It is an individual’s opportunity to express an opinion on issues within the School Committee’s authority. 

To ensure the ability of the School Committee to conduct the District's business in an orderly manner, the following rules and procedures are adopted: 
  1. At the start of each regularly scheduled School Committee meeting, individuals may be asked to sign in for an opportunity to speak during public comment. Sign up instructions will be provided for those who wish to participate in public comment. The public comment segment shall not exceed 20 minutes, however, the segment may be extended at the discretion of the School Committee. All speakers are encouraged to present their remarks in a respectful manner. 
  2. Speakers will be allowed up to three (3) minutes to present their material and must begin their comments by stating their name and address. The presiding Chair may permit extension of this time limit, in extenuating circumstances. 
  3. Topics for discussion should be limited to those items within the School Committee’s scope of authority. The authority of the School Committee primarily concerns the review and approval of the budget of the district’s public schools, the performance of the Superintendent, the educational goals and policies of the district’s public schools, and objective criticisms of school operations and programs. Comments and complaints regarding school personnel (apart from the Superintendent) or students are generally prohibited unless those comments and complaints concern matters within the scope of School Committee authority. 
  4. Chair of the meeting, after a warning, reserves the right to terminate speech which is not constitutionally protected because it constitutes true threats that are likely to provoke a violent reaction and cause a breach of the peace, or incitement to imminent lawless conduct, or contains obscenities. 
  5. Written comments longer than three (3) minutes may be presented to the presiding Chair before or after the meeting. All remarks will be addressed through the Chair of the meeting. Comments made during the public comment portion of the meeting do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School Committee. 

Adopted: 5/19/2021