Power 2 Parent
Published: November 8, 2023

Opinion: CCSD Should Think Twice Before Muzzling Taxpayers

By Rachel Caldwell, Power2Parent

By: Rachel Arroyo Caldwell | Power2Parent

A visiting pastor was removed from a Clark County School Board District Meeting on Sept. 28 when he read passages from “Flamer” by Mike Curato, a pornographic book available in the district school libraries.

Pastor John Amanchukwu, of North Carolina, was interrupted during his allotted speaking time by Clark County School Board of Trustees President Evelyn Garcia Morales, who called his direct quotations from “Flamer” both ‘profane’ and ‘inappropriate.’ Garcia Morales stopped Amanchukwu’s time and had him escorted from the meeting place, along with several other meeting attendees.

In the official video of the board meeting hosted on the Clark County School District website, Amanchukwu’s comments are censored via a large reduction in volume as well as muted intermittently throughout his time at the podium. Additionally, no written minutes are available to the public on the website capturing what was said.

The board responded to this incident following an inquiry from Fox News with a public statement which read:

“The Clark County School District honors individuals’ First Amendment rights, and the public comment rules outlined in federal and state laws. Those rights, however, do not allow individuals to disrupt the business of the district.”

The censorship of Amanchukwu should be alarming to supporters of parental rights for multiple reasons.

Firstly, the disruption of district business was board imposed. There was no lack of order captured on video until Amanchukwu was interrupted. So, curtailing his time and removing him from the meeting was a direct result of the interference and censorship of the board.

After Amanchukwu was interrupted, the crowd immediately reacted in response to the irony that the material the pastor was reading was too offensive for the board and yet made available to the children the board is charged with protecting.

Secondly, censorship of public comment should be a last resort used by governing bodies because of the chilling effect which results when individuals are impeded from exercising their First Amendment rights based on the actions of the governing body in question. In this case, the Clark County School District Board of Trustees. Not only was Amanchukwu prevented from reading the excerpt from “Flamer,” but his additional comments were then reduced in volume and muted as part of the public record.

At a regular board meeting in May 2022, the board also censored the comments of another public speaker.

Candra Evans, the mother of a student within the district, was attempting to read an assignment given to her daughter in class. The assignment contained language that Garcia Morales labeled ‘profane.’ Evans was asked to exhibit ‘decorum’ by the board.

“If you don’t want me to read it to you, what was it like for my 15-year-old daughter to have to memorize pornographic material and memorize it and portray it?” Evans asked the board.

Evans was unable to read the assignment as it was presented to her daughter.

Amanchukwu and Evans both referenced source material provided to students within the Clark County School District. In both instances, the material was found too offensive to quote in a public meeting, resulting in censorship.

The Clark County School District Board of Trustees is elected to serve its constituents, not silence them.

If you have witnessed censorship as related to parental rights while in attendance at a Clark County School District Board meeting, please report it via the Power2Parents website.