Ever since the National School Board Association issued an open letter to President Joe Biden which essentially branded parents who protest mask policies, critical race theory and transgender bathrooms as “domestic terrorists,” it’s become abundantly clear that school boards aren’t particularly thrilled about this new rip-roaring form of American populism coming from concerned parents.
The organization has since had to walk back its inflammatory suggestion, as member groups around the country have been pushing back, but not before the Department of Justice has taken up the cause. It appears that plenty of school boards are still very disgruntled that tax-paying parents want to show up and let them know exactly what they think about infusing COVID tyranny and leftist indoctrination into public school curricula.
One Minnesota school board has gone way, way too far, however.
Alpha News reported this week that residents of Mankato, Minnesota, who might want to point school board members to, say, COVID-19 case rates among children or to read aloud from pornographic novels they’ve found in the school library, will have to state their home address before they participate in the public portion of the meetings.
On Oct. 18, Jodi Sapp, Mankato Area Public Schools board chair, detailed the new rules, which include the disclosure of one’s home address, a ban on addressing board members directly or discussing any issues not on the agenda for the meeting, and — oh yeah — if anyone cheers, claps, or even hollers, by George, she’s shutting the public forum down at once.
“Effective tonight, open forum participants are prohibited from calling out or addressing any individual school board or school district staff member. If this occurs, open forum will be closed,” Sapp stated during the meeting that evening. “Beginning at the Nov. 1 school board meeting, open forum will be limited to those individuals who wish to speak to an item on the board agenda.”
“Crowd noise, or any sort of grandstanding during open forum, including applause, talking, hollering or any outburst will result in open forum being closed,” she also said. “Further, beginning at the Nov. 1 school board meeting, open forum participation will be limited to those individuals who wish to speak to an item on the board agenda.”
As Alpha News noted, this effectively dictates that the public will not be allowed to address any topics the board hasn’t already decided are kosher and that individual members of the board will be shielded from any direct public criticism during board meetings.
Perhaps Sapp has observed from afar the fate of Loudoun County board member Beth Barts, who recently stepped down amid efforts to remove her from office over her alleged involvement with a left-wing parents’ group that was compiling lists of local parents who opposed the LGBT and “anti-racism” policies the board was attempting to pass.
Additionally, the Mankato board is now openly requiring that any parents that speak during the public portion of their meetings dox themselves prior to giving comments.
“Each speaker is asked to state his or her name and address for the record. Failure to do so will result in an individual not being allowed to speak,” Sapp stated during the meeting as reported by Fox News.
According to Alpha News, this appeared to be the first time such a policy was put in place. A meeting on Sep. 20 requested no such thing from members of the public.
Disturbingly, as the Minnesota-based outlet reported, one man initially refused to state his home address but finally acquiesced, turning away from the microphone in the hopes that it wouldn’t be captured and broadcast to online viewers of the meeting.
However, “Sapp was sure to restate his exact address into her microphone so all could know where he lives,” they noted.
The stringent new requirements for members of the public came after an Oct. 4 meeting during which fewer than 10 people spoke to the board for roughly 25 minutes altogether.
“The majority of this time was used by community members to speak out against the district’s mask mandate and policy on staff vaccination,” Alpha News noted. “Some speakers’ remarks were followed by modest applause, much to the chagrin of Sapp, who appeared uncomfortable in the face of criticism.”
On Oct. 18, Sapp credited these people, whose behavior she derided as “unacceptable,” as being the reason behind the new regulations.
I’m sorry, even if these people had been heckling, shouting, and knocking chairs over during the previous meeting, what sane person thinks that forcing members of the public to disclose their home address is an acceptable means of maintaining decorum during a school board meeting?
This is not only petty and vindictive, it’s highly disturbing. Tax-paying members of the public certainly ought to be able to publicly address the board of the local school district they’re required to support without worrying that some nutjob could easily come and find them and their family while they sleep at night.
How is it remotely sensible or acceptable to risk the safety of every single member of a person’s family, including their own children, because you’re irritated that people don’t like mask policies and vaccine requirements?
Besides, if we’re supposed to believe that parents who hate masking, critical race theory and transgender students are basically domestic terrorists, wouldn’t it put any members of the public who spoke out in support of these policies at serious risk at the hands of these maniacs?
This is exactly the kind of subtle tyranny that’s being implemented across the country, from private employers to the federal government to classrooms and everywhere in between.
Sure, no one is forcing you to take the vaccine, but you’ll lose your job if you don’t. Sure, no one is forcing your child to adopt the ideology of critical race theory, but they’ll be alienated by their peers and told in class they’re a racist if they don’t repent of their whiteness.
Sure, no one is banning you from speaking out against local school board policies, but just go ahead and tell everyone where your kids sleep if you’d like the opportunity to do so.
What’s next? I shudder to imagine.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.