CHARLESTON, S.C (WCBD) – The Charleston County School District Board of Trustees met on Monday for their first regular meeting since their controversial September 25th meeting.
A long list of speakers waited their turn to address the board of trustees during the public comment section.
“You were called out for your failure to be specific with your agenda to investigate and suspend Dr. Gallien. You cleaned it up with a do-over vote, but unfortunately, this is part of a pattern of secrecy and contempt for the public,” said one speaker.
Of the public comment section participants were a few members of the Health Advisory Committee who were apparently removed from their positions last month before their terms were up. They filed a lawsuit against Board Chair Pam McKinney, Trustees Carlotte Bailey, Keith Grybowski, Ed Kelley, Leah Whatley, and the Charleston County School District.
“Clearly your recent decision to dismantle the Health Advisory Committee is an attempt to extinguish the current sex ed curriculum. Today students receive data driven information that is medically accurate, inclusive, and comprehensive. The curriculum was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees in July 2020,” said Dr. Lisa Ross, a plaintiff in the lawsuit and a former member of the committee.
Chaos broke out multiple times during the meeting, including when Moms for Liberty’s Tara Wood was at the podium. She is the chair of the Charleston County chapter of the organization which is known for backing a majority of the board.
“This is unacceptable, its freedom of speech. I have a right. I have a child in CCSD, I have a right to speak,” Wood said to the board.
Later in the meeting, Trustee Courtney Waters attempted to have Bailey removed from her leadership positions and censored in response to an alleged recording of the trustee making controversial comments.
“It’s actually our duty, constitutionally, to make sure that we are governing apart from our religious beliefs. I am a member of a church, I do hold religious beliefs, but I try very hard to separate that from the business of this board, and for that reason I make this motion,” said Waters.
Kelley offered a different opinion on the matter.
“I have certainly not heard anything and so I’ve been told, the recording that has circulated, social media functionally, has been altered and or doctored,” said Kelley.
The action did not pass. The board later voted 5-4 to reconsider the Health Advisory Committee vote taken last month during the November 13th meeting.
Earlier in the meeting the board received an update on the investigation into Superintendent Dr. Eric Gallien, who is on paid administrative leave. The board chair said the attorney planned to have the report completed by the end of October.