Williamsburg’s posted minutes omit complaints

Secretary said online version are ‘highlights’

WILLIAMSBURG — The Williamsburg Community School Board’s meeting minutes posted online have omitted the fact that members of the public addressed the board with complaints.

After a parent pointed that out during a board meeting Tuesday night, the board secretary said the district is looking into posting the full version of the minutes online, including summaries of public comment.

On Oct. 17, Anna Gibboney addressed the board with a complaint that a teacher required her son to perform a fitness test despite having a doctor’s excuse for a sprained ankle.

In addition, Robert Loucks said a teacher refused to excuse his 7-year-old asthmatic daughter from class to get her inhaler.

Gibboney returned Tuesday night to object to the board not recording the minutes to reflect their comments.

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records website says the state’s law for public meetings requires a full account in the minutes.

The website reads: “The minutes also must list all members of the public who participated in the meetings and a summary of their comments.”

A request Wednesday to speak with Superintendent Lisa Murgas was answered by Business Manager and Board Secretary Kalie Zabrosky, who said the online version of the minutes are not minutes at all but only “board highlights.”

However, the website has clearly labeled them “board minutes.”

The official minutes, which include a record of public comment, are kept at the district office and are available to the public upon request, Zabrosky said.

However, after Gibboney’s complaint Tuesday, Zabrosky said the district’s board and administration is “looking into posting the full version of the minutes online.”

She said that change could begin as soon as today.

Also during Tuesday’s school board meeting, parents made the board aware that a teacher gave their 5-year-old son an in-school suspension for a day because he “flipped her off” while seated as a passenger in his mother’s car as she drove him from school.

Tracy and Frank Despot Sr. stressed that they in no way condone their son’s behavior but said the school should have notified them of the suspension. In addition, they said the school should have let the parents deal with punishing the child because technically, the incident happened off school grounds.

“If it happens on your time, OK,” Frank Despot said. “But if it happens on our time, then let us deal with it.”

Despot added, “We want to bring awareness to the way disciplinary issues are handled. Parents should have been informed of suspensions.”

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.

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