Call to police at school board meeting criticized
School board president Joanna Wilson said calling Carson City deputies to a dispute with teachers was an overreaction by a person watching the meeting on television.
After the Carson City School Board meeting was abruptly adjourned Tuesday evening during a boisterous argument with teachers over contract negotiations, local television broadcaster Dave Morgan called 911 to report a “combative” situation.
Morgan defended his call on Wednesday.
“She had adjourned the meeting, and the people at the podium continued to yell,” Morgan said. “When they started yelling and pointing fingers, that is a technical violation of the law. The bottom line is, it was hot.”
“I don’t think it was necessary,” she said. “We’re all adults. There was some disruption to the flow of the meeting, but it was certainly never to the point where there was any danger of fisticuffs.”
She stood by her decision to call for an early end to the meeting after she twice asked a teacher to sit down during the public comment portion and he continued to speak.
“My feeling was that the meeting had gotten out of control,” she said. “It was the right thing to do.”
Both sides agreed to keep contract negotiations confidential. Board members are sticking to their end of the deal despite frustrations, Wilson said.
“I regret that things have gotten so bad that the teachers feel they need to attack us and we can’t say anything in return,” she said. “Teaching is an honorable profession and it is a hard profession, and it takes a great deal of dedication.
“I don’t think there is anyone on the board who doesn’t understand or appreciate that.”
Jeff Greb, president of the Ormsby County Educators Association, said the teachers are justified in speaking out.
“I don’t see what we’re doing as negotiations,” he said. “I see this year’s negotiations as being over – we’re going to arbitration in less than a month. We’re trying to effect the future. We don’t want these policies to continue.”
He agreed that the police were not needed to maintain peace.
“People were upset but I don’t think there was any threat from either side,” he said. Deputies responded to the meeting at the Carson City Community Center, talked to participants and left.
Morgan said he didn’t think the argument would erupt into a physical fight, but he called police as a precaution. He also did not see a conflict in becoming involved.
“Just because I’m a reporter doesn’t mean I don’t see what I see and act appropriately,” he said. “I’m a citizen of this town as well as a journalist.”
Contact Teri Vance at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 881-1272.