(3-18-19 – Veteran Janice Holdheide attended tonight’s Celina City Schools Board of Education meeting to share her thoughts on the recent suspension of 13 year older Tyler Carlin for bringing an art project that was a sample of a Battlefield Cross.
Holdheide wrote the Outlook about what happened –
I was at the Celina school board meeting tonight. I went as a veteran and alumni of the Celina City Schools, to protest what they did. They refused to allow me to speak. I was only able to get out my introduction before they asked me to leave.
Holdheide was asked if she was the only person who wanted to address the Board –
There were dozens of people there. A couple of teachers also tried to ask the board questions about it, but they were refused as well.
I’m not sure if there were others after me. I left when they refused to let me speak.
The Outlook invited Holdheide to share what she had planned on sharing with the Board of Education tonight –
I’m a veteran. I take this very personal.
I have slauted the battle cross many times, this is so much more than they could ever understand.
My name is Staff Sergeant Janice Holdheide. I am a 2000 graduate of Celina High School. I served 12 years in the United States Army and served two combat tours in Iraq. I am here tonight to speak up for the young man in Celina Middle School who is disciplined and suspended for choosing to honor the men and women who sacrificed everything for this great country, many of whom I have had the honor to serve beside. My heart breaks at the disturbing and outrageous actions of my alma mater. This young man has more integrity and courage in his 13-year old heart than any of you self-righteous ignorant “Educators” could ever dream of. In a situation where we should be applauding this young man for standing up and doing the right thing, you choose to discipline him. You choose to try and break his spirit and now you choose to slander His Name by calling him insubordinate. I fought for this great country, and I fought for this young man to exercise his first amendment right. I have buried friends and comrades and survived the horrors of War only to come home and find such a disrespectful action taken by this school system in my hometown. I stand before you tonight exercising My First Amendment rights. How dare any of you try and claim to support your service members and Veterans when this school system disciplines the very fiber of our service? This is so much more than a monument, this is every friend I have laid to rest who died for this country, who died for you. For those of you who obviously do not understand history, the battlefield cross is for a soldier who has been killed in combat. It is made up of the soldiers rifle stuck into the ground or into the soldiers boots, with helmet on top. The purpose is to show honor and respect for the dead. The practice started during the American Civil War and today is serves as a method of mourning among the living, as attending a funeral is not always feasible for those soldiers still in combat. The character this young man displayed as something to be commended. I urge all of you to formally apologize to him and his family and remove the suspension from his record. I ask you to let Common Sense prevail.
To the parents of Tyler, thank you. Thank you for raising such a courageous and respectful young man. He is the greatest his generation has to offer. And in times of need, he will be one of the few who has the strength to stand up and do the right thing. Please don’t let the school system manipulate and browbeat that out of him. Thank you.
Below is from the Celina Board of Education’s by-laws that govern who from the public is allowed to speak at a regularly scheduled meeting.
The Board of Education recognizes the value to school governance of public comment on educational issues and the importance of allowing members of the public to express themselves on school matters of community interest.
The Board is also committed to conducting its meetings in a productive and efficient manner that assures that the regular agenda of the Board is completed in a reasonable period of time, honors the voluntary nature of the Board’s time and using that time efficiently, and allows for a fair and adequate opportunity for input to be considered. Consequently, public participation at Board meetings will be governed by the following principles:
- Any person or group wishing to place an item on the agenda shall register their intent with the Superintendent no later than five (5) days prior to the meeting and include:
- name and address of the participant;
- group affiliation, if and when appropriate;
- topic to be addressed.
Such requests shall be subject to the approval of the Superintendent and the Board President.
- In order to permit the fair and orderly expression of such comment, the Board shall provide a period for public participation at every regular meeting of the Board and publish rules to govern such participation in Board meetings.
The presiding officer of each Board meeting at which public participation is permitted shall administer the rules of the Board for its conduct.
The presiding officer shall be guided by the following rules:
- Public participation shall be permitted as indicated on the order of business.
- Anyone having a legitimate interest in the actions of the Board may participate during the public portion of a meeting.
- Participants must be recognized by the presiding officer and may be requested to preface their comments by an announcement of their name, address, and group affiliation, if and when appropriate.
- Each statement made by a participant shall be limited to three (3) minutes duration, unless extended by the presiding officer.
- No participant may speak more than once on the same topic unless all others who wish to speak on that topic have been heard.
- All statements shall be directed to the presiding officer; no person may address or question Board members individually.
- Tape or video recordings are permitted. The person operating the recorder should contact the Superintendent prior to the Board meeting to review possible placement of the equipment, and must agree to abide by the following conditions:
- No obstructions are created between the Board and the audience.
- No interviews are conducted in the meeting room while the Board is in session.
- No commentary, adjustment of equipment, or positioning of operators is made that would distract either the Board or members of the audience while the Board is in session and not disrupt the meeting.
- The presiding officer may:
- prohibit public comments that are frivolous, repetitive, and/or harassing;
- interrupt, warn, or terminate a participant’s statement when the statement is too lengthy, personally directed, abusive, off-topic, antagonistic, obscene, or irrelevant;
- request any individual to leave the meeting when that person does not observe reasonable decorum;
- request the assistance of law enforcement officers in the removal of a disorderly person when that person’s conduct interferes with the orderly progress of the meeting;
- call for a recess or an adjournment to another time when the lack of public decorum so interferes with the orderly conduct of the meeting as to warrant such action;
- waive these rules with the approval of the Board when necessary for the protection of privacy or the administration of the Board’s business.
- The portion of the meeting during which the participation of the public is invited shall be limited to thirty (30) minutes, unless extended by a vote of the Board.