CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County School Board Chair Pamela McKinney is calling on the community to show decorum when attending upcoming school board meetings.

A controversial decision by members of the Board of Trustees to place the district’s newly hired superintendent on paid leave has led to an increase in engagement from parents and community activists.

But while McKinney said she is thankful for support “shown for the mission of the district,” she acknowledged recent meetings have seen what she called a “significant amount of dialogue and loud voices” from audience members, making discussions difficult.

“When the Board of Trustees meets to discuss and debate the issues before us, it is important that I, as the presiding officer over our regular business meetings, create the conditions that allow for productive discussions where Trustees can express their views. Fellow Trustees must be able to hear those viewpoints and have the opportunity to engage in discussion,” McKinney said in a statement Friday afternoon.

McKinney said she understands that the dialogue and loud voices are a result of community frustration. 

“Trustees have not been able to hear each other, and interested in-person attendees and those watching the meetings online have not been able to hear the Trustees over the noise of the crowd,” she said. 

A notice will be posted during the board’s next regular business meeting on October 23:

“Any person in attendance at a meeting of the CCSD Board of Trustees shall conduct himself/herself in a manner appropriate to the decorum of the meeting and shall not use profane, abusive, or obscene language or otherwise engage in disorderly conduct. Any person who makes such remarks or otherwise engages in disorderly conduct which disrupts, disturbs, or otherwise impedes the orderly conduct of a Board meeting shall, at the discretion of the presiding officer, be barred from further attendance during the meeting and may be removed from the building or premises.”

McKinney added, “I encourage members of the public to provide feedback to the Board by submitting written public comments ahead of our regular business meeting, providing in-person public comments during our regular business meeting, or emailing the Trustees at any time.”

But the chair warned that continued crowd-level disruptions at board meetings that interfere with business may result in the meeting being recessed until order has been restored, moved to another location, or moved to a virtual setting.