After suspending the practice for one meeting, members of the Board of Education said last week that they’re hoping to find a secure way for the public to offer comment before the elected body during remote meetings in the future. Receiving people’s emails isn’t an adequate substitute for the live public comment period that’s part of regular meeting agendas, according to Board member Dionna Carlson.
“I wouldn’t want to see this going to the emails that just come to the Board, because that’s not public,” Carlson said during the Board’s March 30 meeting, held via videoconference.
“There is a lot going on right now and I do think we need to find a way for the public to be able to address us through the digital platform,” Carlson said. She added, “I think it is is important for us to see and hear the public and for the remainder of the public to see what is being addressed to the Board. So I would not want to see this go to emails and things like that. We just need to figure out how to work with [New Canaan Public Schools Technology Services] to keep these random things off the Zoom platform or go to a different platform that is more secure.”
She referred to inappropriate material that appeared during recent public meetings held by other municipal bodies in New Canaan on Zoom videoconferencing software—a practice known as “Zoom-bombing.”
Board member Bob Naughton suggested the district look into webinar platforms that require advance registration.
Board Vice Chair Brendan Hayes said it was a good idea to “pre-clear those who are going to speak.”
“It is a bit difficult, I think, but my guess is we are not going to have a huge number of people during this period of time,” he said.