CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — The Carmel Clay School Board announced all board meetings will be virtual until further notice, citing an outside group that “deliberately orchestrated multiple disruptions” during Monday’s in-person meeting.
The district posted the community message to its website Thursday and claimed the outside group began booing and name-calling when the board tried to recess.
The group of parents appears linked to the Unify Carmel movement, and Purple for Parents Indiana. Unify Carmel‘s mission statement claims the school district is indoctrinating students with dangerous, political, extremist or racist ideas. It says “freedom of speech, rather than cancel culture, should be a hallmark of our community,” and members claim that the school board is silencing parents by moving meetings virtual.
The school district defends its decision, saying in Monday’s meeting alone there were four instances for public comments in the agenda but parents were disruptive and interruptive throughout the proceedings. Its community message goes on for 12 paragraphs describing how certain parents have shared misleading videos claiming some teachers are forcing students to wear masks, and falsely claiming the districts mental health coordinator wants to defund the police. It says some teachers have received threatening letters at their home addresses and that other parents have received mailers from these groups with false information about the district.
“Some believe the loudest in the room or those with the most media attention will ‘win’ an argument in today’s charged climate. We are here to serve the 16,000+ students of Carmel Clay Schools. In a district as large SCCS, disagreements will occur. However, we will no longer allow our board meetings to be a means to divide our community,” reads the statement.
Some parents have already reacted to the statement, calling the board members “cowards” and the letter “propaganda.”
They’re re-sharing video of the actual meeting, indicating it shows how administrators are silencing parents.
The recording of Monday’s meeting is not available on Carmel Clay Schools YouTube page.
The next board meeting is a special session on Monday that will be live-streamed instead of in-person. Another special session will follow Tuesday to confirm a member for the vacant District 2 seat. The school board says it will regularly reevaluate the need for live streaming.