Open Meetings Act: “public comment”
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois enjoined (stopped) Rich Township High School District 227 from enforcing its policy, expressed verbally during board meetings and in writing on board agendas, encouraging individuals to “refrain from mentioning the name of students and employees” during the public comment portion of its board meetings. Here, Plaintiff Mnyofu had been speaking during the public comment portion of a board meeting for over two minutes when he began criticizing individuals by name. In response, the board president asked for the microphone to be turned off, a security guard to stop Mnyofu from speaking, and the police to be called. Mnyofu continued to speak for approximately three more minutes before leaving the meeting. In finding that Mnyofu was entitled to a preliminary injunction to stop the board from enforcing this policy, the court did not reach the merits of Mnyofu’s claim that the board’s policy prohibits criticism of school officials and thus that the board intends to prohibit speech based on its content.