A Minnesota school board chairwoman has stirred outrage after she demanded that parents announce their home address if they want to speak at public meetings – the latest flashpoint in the ongoing battle over the right to question administrators about COVID restrictions, CRT curriculums or any other controversial topics.
Jodi Sapp, the chairwoman of the Mankato school board, opened the meeting on October 18 by telling parents they cannot ask any questions unless they revealed their home address, according to the now viral video.
‘Each speaker is asked to state his or her name and home address for the record. Failure to do so will result in an individual not being allowed to speak,’ Sapp read aloud.
‘Each speaker is allowed three minutes to speak, and the board will alert the speaker when their time is up. Failure to stop speaking (in time) will result in the ability to participate in future open forums.’
John Wicklund, a dad who at first refused to give his personal information before finally having to cave in, asked Sapp: ‘Do you consider us terrorists? Like a couple members have said online.’
‘Seems like we are, especially with the opening statements.’
The father’s question was in reference to a memo sent last week by the National School Boards Association that likened some parents of school children who have protested their child’s curriculum to domestic terrorists
The group has since apologized for the letter but not before Attorney General applauded the missive and called for the FBI to investigate such parents.
Wicklund, voiced his objections, but eventually provided his home address after attempting to negate doing so by citing concerns that his home could be targeted for vandalism.
‘My name is John Wicklund and I live in Mankato,’ he began.
‘Could I get your address please, John,’ Sapp responded.
‘I’d rather not, since I get so much property damage and eggs and everything else from… fun people and their friends.’
‘John you need to give your address,’ she repeated.
‘I live on 5th Street,’ he reluctantly said, before being allowed to ask questions.
‘How many acts of violence (have occurred on school grounds)? How many sexual assaults have happened in this school district?’
‘You can say the (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) are making you do this, but the government knows better.’
Sapp did not answer the dad in the video, giving him a curt ‘thank you, that’s the end of the open forum’.
The open forum’s policy change came after the school board’s October 4 meeting, where a number of parents criticized the school district mask’s mandate and vaccination policies, causing audience members to loudly applaud the community speakers.
School board meetings nationwide have become the battleground for parents and district officials in recent months, with many parents using the board meetings to protest the teaching of critical race theory and other controversial educational topics.
The Mankato meeting remained civil despite the testy moment between Sapp and Wicklund, however outrage did spill over onto social media after the video of their exchange went viral.