- LAUSD Parents and Students
As if the responsibility for educating 694,096 students was not enough, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) also owns and operates a television station. KLCS is part of the Public Broadcasting System and one of the Los Angeles homes for Sesame Street. It is also responsible for broadcasting and live-streaming public meetings held by the LAUSD Board. For many working parents, this is the only way to oversee the actions of their School Board.
KLCS’ coverage of public meetings is supposed to be devoid of editorial content and should be gavel-to-gavel as if the viewer is sitting in the gallery of the meeting room. Everything that the Brown Act allows the public to see should be seen by the viewer. Unfortunately, this was not the case for the meeting held on December 11, 2018.
Feeling that their voices have been drowned out by the wealthy interests who fund the campaigns of the Board Members, parents and students began to protest as the public comment section of the School Board meeting came to a close. At this point, KLCS cut the audio from the room even though the meeting had not been adjourned. It was not a technical problem as sound returned so that Board President Monica Garcia could officially close the meeting. Since the official video of the meeting is provided from the KLCS feed, the historical record of the proceeding has also been tampered with.
In America, we are not supposed to have a state-run media that feeds us content approved by government officials. If the elected members of the LAUSD cannot keep their hands out of the coverage of public meetings, then perhaps their campaigns should bear the costs of running the television station instead of the students of the district. Until that happens, they should let the public speak.
Carl Petersen is a parent and special education advocate, elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a “strong supporter of public schools.” His past blogs can be found at www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.