Written by Karen Gellender: firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, 15 June 2012 00:00
Just a few weeks ago, I wrote in this space that the Syosset School District should change its Audience To The Public policy so that residents can ask questions at meetings without being limited to the items on the evening’s agenda. At the Monday, June 4 meeting, they announced that they had done just that.
I actually found out about this rather late last week, hence I didn’t get to write an editorial about it for our June 8 edition. However, belated or not, I would like to thank the district for making this change for the better. This is a huge step in the right direction.
That said, I hope the people who take advantage of this opportunity will be respectful and on point when they address the board, administration and the community. The district’s apparent fear of public comment this past year — that people would rant endlessly and drag down the entire meeting— may have been exaggerated, but it wasn’t entirely unfounded.
Speakers can and should ask questions, critique district policy and even offer suggestions, but if it starts to sound like a personal attack, or the speaker can’t seem to get to the point for five minutes, or if they decide that the South Woods auditorium is the perfect venue for their new stand-up comedy routine, then it’s going to seem like the district might have been right to restrict public comment for as long as it did. Instead of even having to contemplate that question, let’s just move forward.