WHEREAS, N.J.A.C. 5:39-1.4(h) requires the Board to adopt by resolution standard procedures and requirements for public comment made during a remote public meeting as well as for public comments submitted in writing ahead of a remote public meeting; and
WHEREAS, the Board has considered the procedures and requirements it desires to establish for public comment and has chosen to adopt the procedures and requirements set forth below.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board hereby enacts the following procedures, standards, and requirements for public comment at Board meetings conducted with a remote meeting platform:
- Written comments. The Board publishes its agenda by 9:00am on the day before a Board meeting. Individuals who wish to submit written comments regarding any government or school district issue that a member of the public feels may be of concern to the residents of the school district must do so by sending an email with the written comments to email@example.com or by written letter addressed to the Board Secretary, 70 Church Street, Haledon, NJ 07508. Comments submitted in writing or by email must include the commenter’s name and address. Written comments must be received no later than 10:00 a.m. on the day of the meeting. Written comments will be read aloud and addressed during the meeting in a manner audible to all meeting participants and the public. When reading written comments during a meeting, the person reading the comment will stop reading after three minutes, no matter how long the comment is. The Board may summarize duplicative comments as permitted by law, and duplicative comments shall be noted for the record.
- In-Person or Remote Comments. Individuals in person or participating via Zoom may make public comment by signifying their intent to comment. Those participating via Zoom shall use the “Raise Hand” feature. Participants shall be limited to a three-minute time limit and shall identify themselves before speaking.
- Standards of Conduct. Participants wishing to make public comment shall abide by Bylaw 0167, the contents of which are incorporated by reference in this resolution. Additionally, the Board hereby adopts the following procedures:
- The Board shall facilitate a dialogue with the commenter to the extent permitted by the electronic communications technology, which shall include ascertaining the individual’s name, address, topic, and areas of concern. The Board may or may not respond to inquiries made by the commenter, depending upon whether or not the issue has been raised at the appropriate level beforehand, whether or not the Superintendent has had the opportunity to address the issue, and whether or not the inquiry requires further investigation before a response. Generally, when giving a response, the Superintendent or Board President shall do so at the close of public comment. Any dialogue that takes place during the individual’s public comment shall count toward the speaker’s three-minute time limit.
- If a member of the public becomes disruptive during a remote public meeting, including during any period for public comment, the Board President or individual in charge of the remote meeting platform shall mute or continue muting the disruptive member of the public and warn that continued disruption may result in their being prevented from speaking during the remote public meeting or removed from the remote public meeting. Disruptive conduct includes sustained inappropriate behaviors such as, but not necessarily limited to, shouting, interruption, and use of profanity.
- A member of the public who continues to act in a disruptive manner after receiving an initial warning shall be muted while other members of the public are allowed to proceed with their questions or comments. If time permits, the disruptive individual shall be allowed to speak after all other members of the public have been given the opportunity to make comment. Should the person remain disruptive, the Board President or individual in charge of the remote meeting shall mute, or keep muted, the disruptive member for the remainder of the remote public meeting, or remove him or her from the remote public meeting.