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A disturbing trend: disrupters at some Indiana school board meetings

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — “It is inconsiderate and unfair for individual patrons to disrupt the meeting where we have to adjourn or recess the meeting,” said Terry Spradlin.

The executive director of the Indiana School Board Association on Wednesday talked with News 8 after some parents have gotten out of hand at school board meetings about mask wearing at schools.

The disturbing trend has now happened at multiple school board meetings across Indiana.

In the last few weeks, a Zionsville School Board meeting was interrupted countless times by parents loudly interjecting during public comment, and yelling while the school board was preparing to vote on a mask requirement for students.

A school board meeting this week in New Albany got heated over over a mask requirement vote within the school district.

Spradlin said, “We just can’t allow for disruptive meetings where individuals are not recognized to speak speaking up and disrupting the meeting.”

Mask wearing has become a polarizing topic across the United States. When it comes to students’ health, school officials are not surprised that some parents feel passionately about the topic one way or the other, and want to express that.

“We need to listen to their concerns. We need to listen to both sides of these issues to understand overall sentiment,” Spradlin said.

However, he added, school boards have a certain expectation on the way opinions are presented at meetings.

“We applaud parents who are passionate. We need to respect each others differences in philosophy and that is where we have to have this common ground on protocols and rules and decorum,” Spradlin said.

“When individuals become disruptive or hostile with verbal language or body gestures that are threatening, the board has no choice but to recess the meeting.”

Spradlin says while some school boards have decided to require masks for certain students to start the school year, he anticipates that changing to become a choice for parents sooner than later.