Starting next month, people will be able to watch Abbotsford school board meetings live from their homes.
A pair of cameras were installed in the Abbotsford School District’s boardroom, and a live-streaming test was run during the Jan. 15 school board meeting. However, school district spokesperson Kayla Stuckart told The News there are still issues to be worked out with the system at this point.
Still, secretary-treasurer Raymond Velestuk said the Jan. 15 school board meeting was the final public meeting that was not live-streamed, meaning the IT employees at the school district have a little over half a month to work out any issues.
Asked about privacy concerns regarding children presenting at the school board, secretary-treasurer Velestuk noted that the board meetings are public, and television cameras, should they be at a meeting, would also potentially be recording the youths present.
The addition of live-streaming has also come with some board governance and operations policy changes, introduced at the Jan.15 meeting.
That includes an addition to a section noting that all regular meetings will be open to the public to include a notice that the meetings “may be live-streamed at the board’s discretion.”
It also introduces a whole section on policy regarding video recordings and live-streaming at the school board.
That includes a subsection that bans recording of trustees’ and staff’s tablets, computers or other devices during meetings, not including public presentation materials.
As well, the board will hold the right, according to the new policy, to “request that any recording that disrupts its proceedings or contravenes this, or any other board of education policy, be stopped immediately.”
“Where a concern arises involving inappropriate recording or sharing of personally recorded audiovisual material, the board of education will review the use and may take action to request that the recording be deleted/destroyed.”
Recordings of board meetings will be held in archives for up to five years, according to the policy.
The school board officially voted in spring 2018 in favour of bringing live-streaming to public board meetings.