On behalf of myself and the Ankeny Community School District, I would like to formally apologize to KCCI reporter Lauren Johnson for her experience at our board meeting on Monday, April 4. We were not adequately prepared for the large number of attendees at the meeting on Monday, and community members and Ms. Johnson were asked to wait in the lobby until space became available in the board room following a presentation from our exchange program with Copan, Mexico to comply with the fire code as advised in September by the fire marshal.
While they were waiting for entry, staff members did try to quiet the crowd with the intention of allowing the board to hear a presentation from a student in our exchange program. It is my understanding that the district’s staff attempts to quiet the crowd were received as a personal statement that Ms. Johnson was being loud. I would like to publicly apologize for Ms. Johnson’s experience at our board meeting. Ms. Johnson’s interaction with staff is not consistent with the experience I would want for any member of my community to have at any district event. Ms. Johnson, members of the media, and the public are all welcomed and encouraged to civically engage in our meetings.
In the future, Ankeny Schools will reserve a space for the news media at future board meetings and work with district staff on creating a welcoming environment. Additionally, we are identifying larger venues for meetings with an anticipated increased attendance. The district is committed to maintaining a professional working relationship with members of the media, and we will work to ensure they have the access they need to accurately report on district matters to the public.
- Erick Pruitt