Minn. School Board Demands Public Commenters State Their Home Addresses Before Speaking

Brittany M. Hughes | October 27, 2021
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School boards the country over are becoming increasingly terrified of parents demanding accountability from their local education system and its elected officials – and one Minnesota school board is tripping over its own feet trying to fight back.

Video posted to social media shows Jodi Sapp, a school board member at Mankato Area Public Schools, instructing all members of the public wishing to speak at a recent school board business meeting that they must state their name and their entire home address before being allowed to comment.

Before we go on, an important reminder: this is a school board meeting, paid for by taxpayers, in a school district funded by taxpayers, to oversee schools filled with children of local residents. All of which supports the notion that the district should adhere to the desires of the parents, and that the taxpayer-paid school board members who are elected by said residents serve their citizens, and not the other way around.

But alas – as evidenced by a disturbing article published in the Washington Post asserting that parents don’t, in fact, have rights when it comes to their children’s education in public schools, it seems school boards have decided that they, and not those who put them in their seats in the first place, make the rules.

Like Sapp, for example, who begins the meeting by stating, “I just want to remind everybody this is a business meeting of the school board, it is not a meeting that belongs to the public.”

"Each speaker is asked to state his or her name and address for the record. Failure to do so will result in an individual not being allowed to speak,” she goes on.

The first speaker, a man, understandably states that he’s uncomfortable giving his home address “for the record,” saying he’s concerned about retribution from “fun people” who might not agree with what he has to say.

On top of that, Sapp goes on to state that commenters will be banned from “calling out” specific board members or school administrators or faculty by name – even after demanding that all resident speakers not only give their names, but state exactly where they live down to the house number. 

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