Update: School board proposes gag order

The historic Minden Elementary School serves as offices for the Douglas County School District.

The historic Minden Elementary School serves as offices for the Douglas County School District.

Update: This story has been rendered obsolete since it was published. The school board never got to the point where they discussed the policy change. The board is meeting Oct. 6 to discuss mutually separating with Superintendent Keith Lewis.

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The first reading of a proposed policy appearing on today’s Douglas County School Board agenda appears to prohibit anyone from relating any information inside or outside of the Douglas County School District without the board’s express permission.

A plain reading of the agenda item could, if approved, prevent a coach from talking with a reporter about a game or a teacher from talking to a parent about their child, without first going through the school board.

Board Bylaw 030 is up for first reading and includes a clause that requires “all statements, letters, opinions, recommendations, and/or District communications delivered to the public, the parents and/or guardians, or the student body, to first be presented to the Board for approval.”

Douglas County School Board trustees are exercising their new attorney Joey Gilbert with a stack of bylaws and policies implemented last year.

Board bylaw 030 also defines the role of superintendent and requires all administrative regulations to be reviewed by legal counsel.

Another policy outlines for a whistleblower on complaints submitted by students, employees, parents and/or guardians and the community while another amends when and how public comment will be conducted all the way down to the order of commentors and how long they may speak.

The school board is also seeking to hire an independent professional forensic accounting firm to conduct an audit for the entire district.

A hearing on a lawsuit seeking to learn whether four school board trustees were deliberating in secret was delayed so board members Susan Jansen, Dave Burns, Katherine Dickerson and Doug Englekirk could be personally served.

School Board trustees meet 4 p.m. today at the Douglas High School Media Center.

Sarah Drinkwine and Kurt Hildebrand contributed to this report.


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