COVINGTON -- A Newton County District 1 resident chastised the Newton County Board of Education for its handling of comments from the Newton County Chamber of Commerce president last week.
Resident Logan Bistok spoke during the public participation portion of the school board's monthly meeting Tuesday night, saying he was disappointed that the board allowed Chamber President Hunter Hall to "attack" school board Vice Chair Jeff Meadors during last week's meeting, violating its own policy. Meadors represents District 1.
During last week's monthly work session, Hall spoke for about 10 minutes during the public participation portion of the meeting, asking Meadors to stop writing his column for the Newton Citizen, saying that when Meadors points out negative information about the school system it hurts the Chamber's efforts to secure industries like Baxter International.
Bistok accused school board Chair Eddie Johnson of allowing Hall to break board policy by going over his time limit and attacking a board member.
According to the school board's Public Participation policy, "a maximum time of five minutes will be allotted to a single individual or a single topic based on the number of requests. ... Personal attacks against any member of the Board will not be tolerated."
"It's your job ... to make sure every meeting runs the same way," Bistok told Johnson. "(Meadors) tells the hard truth. It may be controversial, and you may not like to hear it, but it can be useful to you guys."
Bistok encouraged the board to support teachers and not "order people around," as he accused the board of doing for passing a resolution telling voters to vote no in the November election on a proposed charter school amendment that would allow a state agency to approve charter schools that local boards don't approve. Bistok called that move communism and Naziism.
"We're here for the kids. We're not here to pick fights or sue people," he said. "We're in significant turmoil. ... We need to get serious about education in Newton County."
The board members did not respond to Bistok's comments.