Wicomico County Board of Education Public Meeting Lockout
November 9, 2021
In response to the WCBOE board meeting this evening, concerned parents write:
We are writing to you tonight with heightened concerns about Wicomico County Board of Education's treatment and mistreatment of parents, teachers, staff, students, and citizens. It is important that our County Council is kept updated concerning the current WCPS climate and culture created by the decision-makers of our children's education. Tonight, I and the other fellow attendees were alarmed that antiquated procedures are still in place, even though Dr. Hanlin and the WCBOE have shown that accommodations can be made for those interested to attend the public meetings.
Tonight, WCBOE and Dr. Hanlin made the Machiavellian decision to lock the District Office doors on parents and citizens who arrived at the WCBOE meeting to be both informed and to speak during the public comment session on the agenda. Fifty parents and concerned citizens stood outside locked doors and were not allowed to witness the meeting, which is in direct violation of the Open Meetings Act. Fifty WCPS tax-paying citizens were not given the right to hear the agenda, the votes of their elected officials, or the other attendees' public comments. This lock-out was intentional and deliberate. It sent a clear message--the WCBOE and Dr. Hanlin do not want to create a sense of academic community and to bridge the divisive gaps between parents, teachers, site-level administrators, and district office personnel. Moreover, two Sheriff deputies stood guard to gatekeep who could and could not enter the publicly-funded building.
WCBOE did make the allowance that they would permit entry to five citizens at a time who wished their comments to go on public record at the meeting. Again, Dr. Hanlin and the WCBOE already demonstrated previously that they could accommodate the number of citizens who wish to attend the WCBOE meetings. It is either apathy, complacency, or pure ignorance that they, again, did not have the foresight to schedule the meeting at a location that could accommodate large numbers. Honestly, it does not matter; these are our elected officials and superintendent (who is paid via taxpayer dollars). Their position--at all times--should be to uphold the public's expectation that our school system is transparent with their decisions and their votes.
My question for you is this: should taxpaying citizens, like myself, expect to be able to attend public WCBOE meetings? Further, why are taxpaying citizens denied access to these crucial meetings in which the publicly funded education of my children is being discussed and decided upon?
What is your and the County Council's position on the WCBOE's continued decision to lock citizens out of board meetings and continue to violate the Open Meetings Act? Where is Dr. Hanlin's and the WCBOE's accountability?
Thank you for your time.
Andrew and Eden Hade
Sent: 11/9/21 9:47 PM To: Nicole Acle <email@example.com> Cc: John Cannon <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Larry Dodd <email@example.com>, William McCain <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Josh Hastings <email@example.com>, Ernest Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>, John Palmer <email@example.com>, Tonya Lewis <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ann Suthowski <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, Donna Hanlin <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Darren Lombardo "email@example.com"; Joe Holloway <firstname.lastname@example.org>
We encourage you to contact the WCBOE board members to let them know how you feel about them obstructing the citizens from attending their board meetings and them voting on major decisions that effect our children's education without parent involvement.
WCBOE Board Members
Donald Fitzgerald - email@example.com
Gene Malone - firstname.lastname@example.org
Allen Brown - email@example.com
John Palmer - firstname.lastname@example.org
Tonya Lewis - email@example.com
Michael Murray - firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Suthowski - email@example.com