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BISD board president says he would consider closing board meetings to public

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BEAUMONT -

Beaumont Independent School District Board President Woodrow Reece says he might consider closing board meetings to the public, out of fear that someone might get hurt.

This after a clash involving the district's communications director, Jessie Haynes, at Thursday's board meeting.

Reece told 12News that BISD Superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois is not happy with what happened at the meeting, and Reece says Chargois is investigating the incident.

While board members were in executive session Thursday, Haynes got into an exchange of words with some audience members, who are critical of how the school board and administrators are handling school business.

She suddenly then broke into song, singing "We Shall Overcome", a civil rights movement anthem.

Many in the community were outraged.  Kimberly Dennis, a BISD mom fears the bad behavior by top administrators is a bad example for the students.

Dennis told us, "It's a lot of controversy, and it's causing stress on these children.  I mean their main focus is supposed to be learning."

Dennis said the adults are acting worse than kids.  She said, "You expect that out of kids, the little petty back and forth."

Reece says BISD police officers should have taken charge of the situation.  He says if he had witnessed it, he would have had police clear the room, and he says he might consider banning the public from participating in meetings.

He said, "Research has shown some school boards don't let patrons speak, I think that's wrong, but it may come to that.  It may come to we meet in one room, and in another room they can watch it in simulcast."

He told us once Chargois' investigation into the incident is complete, he will take appropriate action.

When asked if the action would be against Haynes, Reece would just say against administration, not specifying a name.

He says he didn't want to single out anyone, especially if others could have been involved.

We did attempt to contact Ms. Haynes, but were unable to reach her for comment.

Reece was also critical of the number of lawsuits the district has faced the past three years, calling many of them frivolous.

He says judges are interfering with the board being able to conduct school business.

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