CONWAY, Ark. – A Conway school board meeting Tuesday turned into a lecture on news coverage and community activism related to the district’s anti-trans measures. Some community members said they were disappointed.
Board members claimed they are being attacked by reporters. The district has gotten attention after passing several measures targeting trans students.
“For those of you in the media that are writing your slanted pieces full of misinformation and falsehoods, shame on you,” Board member Jason Sandefer said.
Some community members said the board has increasingly become involved in “culture wars,” many topics involving LGBTQ students. Julie McDonald, a concerned community member, said she was frustrated with the meeting.
“Last night was an embarrassing night for Conway,” McDonald said.
The meeting was held in a small-capacity building, but overflow seating was provided in another building. The meeting was live streamed for the first time, but there was no public comment.
“They did not allow comment and instead spent the bulk of the meeting focusing on themselves and their treatment,” McDonald said.
Board members defended a policy that emails are deleted after three days, calling some FOIA requests “harassment.”
“When we’re spending all these hours and money fulfilling FOIA requests, it takes away from administrators’ ability to provide for safety and educational needs for our students,” Sandefer said.
McDonald said concerned community members are eyeing summer school board races to make a change.
“It’s just not in step with the community in Conway,” McDonald said.