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SCHOOL ATTORNEY: Board Pres WRONG to Limit Recording Meetings, Public Comment

Roscoe Enfield Jr., Pres. Elkhart Board of School Trustees

ELKHART, Ind. — The attorney for Elkhart Community Schools tells REAL News Michiana, the president of the Board of School Trustees “misspoke” when telling attendees at a board meeting that they could not record the meeting.

“It was a heat of the moment response.” Doug Thorne, ECSC District Counsel and Chief of Staff, said. “Videos can be taken. The bylaws suggest people should notify the superintendent first… but they don’t have to.”

At the November 9th meeting of the board, Board President Roscoe “Rocky” Enfield Jr., started the meeting by telling the public they needed to get permission prior to recording anything.

“If you’re recording, you should be getting permission from the superintendent to record.” Enfield said. “It’s in the rules.”

Enfield’s comments fly in the face of state law. Indiana Code 5-14-1.5-1 states all meetings must be open to the public, where all citizens have the right to attend AND record the proceedings.

Enfield then went on to tell the public that if they record, they are not allowed to make any public comment.

“If you are recording, you are not allowed to make comment and there is to be no interviews or anything like that. You just record.” He said.

Once again, this “rule” flies in the face of state open door laws. All citizens are allowed to comment during designated public comment times, whether they’re recording or not.

“Those rules were adopted in 2013 and were mainly meant for media, before everyone had a TV studio in their pocket.” Thorne told RNM.

You can watch video of Enfield making the comments below. The statements start shortly after the beginning of the video.

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