You are still free to record at District 200 Board of Education meetings.

After considering a revision to its policy regarding board meetings, the Dist. 200 administration will not pursue a change regarding who can tape at public meetings and how.

Jason Edgecombe, District 200 assistant superintendent for human resources, on Monday explained the high school’s decision, saying that their intentions for the new policy might have been misunderstood by the public.

The school explored the policy change because members of the local media recorded meetings without verbally stating they were doing so beforehand, Edgecombe said.

He added, however, that no one from the public had ever complained or raised an issue about the media or anyone else recording board meetings. Edgecombe explained that if there is an issue in the future, administration will address it at that particular board meeting.

The proposed policy change would have required a day’s notice before the meeting, given to the superintendent, or a designate, if the public wished to tape, among other provisions.

Donald Craven, an attorney with the Illinois Press Association, last week explained that the Illinois Open Meetings Act does give public bodies the authority to impose specific rules concerning decorum at their meetings, but not prior notice to tape them.

Such a restriction, Craven added, is overstating a public body’s authority.

“There’s no need to have prior notice,” he said. “There’s no imposition on the board in needing 24-hours notice. It has nothing to do with maintaining decorum at a meeting. Those rules usually appear when a citizen makes a pain of himself at a meeting. This seems to be designed to limit public access of open meetings.”

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