Candidate: “Here they go again,” in regards to confrontation at school board meeting

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - On Friday, officials with Huntsville City Schools answered questions about an incident at the most recent board meeting. A woman was escorted out of the meeting while live streaming on Facebook.

Now the question is: Was she asked to leave because she caused a disruption?

WHNT News 19 spoke with Pam Hill, a former teacher for the district and current candidate for the Board of Education. Hill recorded the confrontation between the woman and school leaders.

Hill ended up being an eyewitness to the confrontation between Edggra Fallin and school and city leaders.

"I did that because I've worked in the schools for 19 years and specifically the last five and a lot of things that are reported or documented, aren't exactly how they happened."

Eddgra Fallin was recording during a citizens comment from the Von Braun Astronomical Society.  Hill says she doesn't think it was a disturbance issue.

"I thought this was most unusual that the school board and the superintendent would not want citizens to know they could go to a free show about stars or the moon."

Officials from the Huntsville City Schools stress they have no problem with recording during the citizens comment portion of the meetings as long as there are no disturbances.

"She's free to record, she just needs to have been sitting." says Keith Ward of the Huntsville City Schools.

Pam Hill says that if she is elected to the District 5 seat on the Board of Education, she will make some policy changes.

"The first thing I will do is to be sure that all citizens comments are televised and I actually believe we should do like other systems in the county and actually give out everything that the school board has." said Hill.

WHNT News 19 spoke with School Board President Laurie McCaulley, who said  there are two reasons why ETV's cameras turn off.  First, Citizen Comments are not part of the actual board meeting.

"The President hits the gavel, and says 'all the board's business has been concluded.' Citizen Comments follow at that time, but it's not during the actual board meeting. It is a listening opportunity. The board needs time to research the item the person has brought before us."

McCaulley said there is another reason -- one that's often missed, but very important.

"Parents often bring up personal issues about their children, including bullying.  That's not something the whole city needs to hear," said McCaulley. "Citizen comments give parents a chance to address the board, but it's also the board's responsibility to protect the children. It's not that we're trying to be mean. It's not that we're trying to be secretive. But we as a board are trying to protect the identities of children parents may speak about."

"One parent came up [and showed] a picture of his son with a bruised eye. Someone recorded video of it. Several times, it's incidents where they're referencing their own particular child, and bullying or psychological counseling."