Community members ‘outraged’ after Park City School Board removes public comment period from meeting

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PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4) – This week’s Park City Board of Education meeting went online-only without the opportunity for live comments from the public — a departure from the norm that some parents and community members say amounts to censorship.

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“People are generally outraged,” said parent Kris Choi.

“They could have granted public access by allowing the interactive functionality to remain. But they chose to disable all of that. So there was no ability to chat,” added Choi.

Why a Zoom meeting? Why no live public comment? As of Friday evening, board members have not responded to ABC4’s requests for comment on the situation.

The board meetings, by law, don’t require any public comment — and a district official told ABC4 that emailed comments were still allowed.

A district statement to ABC4 reads:

“The PCSD Board of Trustees Notice of Meeting and Agenda for May 18, 2021 was posted with required notice on the district website and offices. Information was provided with the notice and agenda for submission of public comments electronically.”

Former school board member Tania Knauer says email comments aren’t good enough; she says the live comment period is an invaluable way for community members who are watching or attending the meetings to hear about what’s happening in Park City.

“People have a right to be upset,” said Knauer.

“It seems to me that they are trying to squelch people getting up and telling them stuff they don’t want to hear,” she added.

“In general, public comment — it’s an opportunity for the public to get up and tell you mostly about the things they don’t like. But you do need to hear that,” said Knauer.

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