Last week’s shooting outside a Raines high school football game rattled the district, and their desire to come up with a speedy solution is admirable, it’s just to bad they went about it the wrong way.
School board meetings are supposed to be noticed 48 hours in advance in order to give any relevant parties and the public notice. This school safety meeting
Monday however did not give 48 hour notice and even worse it was closed to the public.
From the Times Union:
Earlier kickoffs and different game days will be the “new normal” at about a dozen public Duval County high school football games this fall after a triple-shooting at Friday’s Raines-Lee game.
Duval Schools Superintendent Diana Greene announced the change at a 4 p.m. Monday press conference that followed a closed-door executive committee meeting of the School Board.
It is not clear whether the game schedule was discussed at the 2:30 p.m. board meeting, as neither the Times-Union nor First Coast News were allowed into the meeting, despite raising objections with the district beforehand and at the district’s Southbank office.
Greene was joined at the announcement by five of the seven School Board members — Ashley Smith Juarez and Scott Shine were absent — as well as school police chief Micheal Edwards, Jacksonville Undersheriff Pat Ivey and Mayor Lenny Curry.
Ahead of Monday’s School Board meeting, three members said that the board would meet at 2:30 p.m. to discuss school-safety protocols. Notice of the meeting was not given in advance on the School Board’s online calendar.
In Florida, nearly all meetings of government boards are open to the public and few exemptions are allowed under the state’s open meetings law.
Tracy Pierce, district spokesman, cited Florida Statutes Chapter 281, which allows meetings and documents to be exempt from public access if they relate to “the security or fire-safety systems of any property owned by or leased to the state or any of its political subdivisions.”
“It is a conversation that is by law able to be held in executive session,” Pierce said, but did not elaborate further.
Um wait, Scott Shine wasn’t there? This guy, ugh. Are we still paying him?
Anyway, I think you are losing when you use some obscure rule to circumnavigate the long standing meeting notice process and to exclude the public. I get it there is a sense of urgency, but if they had the meeting today and invited the public, we still have over three days before game time to make any changes.
You know I think moving game times is a fine idea. I think we get caught up with the mystique of Friday night lights and not competing against college games. The thing is college invaded Friday nights ears ago and there is usually a full slate of games and a marquee one or two as well.
Saturday mornings, during the day on Friday, these are both acceptable alternatives.
In the article superintendent Greene said we were in a new normal. I hope that new normal does not include excluding the public going forward.