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School Board Meeting Attendance Tips

School Board Meeting Attendance Tips

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Teachers who attend school board meetings in their district should keep a few simple tips in mind in order to avoid any potential legal or job-related pitfalls. The most important thing to remember is to conduct yourself professionally when attending a board meeting or addressing the board. Regardless of the reason for your attendance, the school board is still the final decision-maker in the district, and you are their employee. All of the same rules regarding professionalism and insubordination still apply.

The most important thing to remember is to conduct yourself professionally when attending a board meeting or addressing the board. Regardless of the reason for your attendance, the school board is still the final decision-maker in the district, and you are their employee. All of the same rules regarding professionalism and insubordination still apply.

It is also important to remember you are not guaranteed the right to speak at a board meeting. Boards have differing rules on public comment at meetings and, unless you are invited to the meeting to speak, there is no guarantee you will be able to address the board. If you would like to address the board, familiarize yourself with your district’s policies and consider following the procedure for being placed on the meeting agenda.

It’s also important to understand that depending on the topic of your interaction with the board, you may be pulled into a closed session meeting. If the board feels your conversation is sensitive (and meets the requirements for a closed session laid out in the Sunshine Law), they may choose to ask you to wait until closed session to address the board. You do not, however, have a right to request to address the board in closed session. Regardless of the topic, the board can choose to have all conversations in open session. The decision to move to closed is purely a board decision.

Participating and observing this vital part of school-related business is something all educators in the district should consider. As long as you remember to remain respectful and attend the meeting with the intent to observe and learn, you should be able to walk away with new insight into the governance of your district.

As always, if you have questions please do not hesitate to contact the MSTA Legal Services Department at 866-343-6186.

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