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Hooksett school board rejects proposal on personal attacks

HOOKSETT — After a heated discussion, the School Board rejected member John Lyscars’ proposed policy change to make the public comment period at meetings more civil.

Lyscars, a frequent target of criticism from residents during public comment, proposed altering the School Board’s policy to eliminate personal attacks and remove the ability of residents to directly address individual board members.

“So after being on the school board for 10 months, I am starting to see a common theme in public comment where board members or (Chairman Trisha Korkosz) is attacked personally, and that is not good for how the board works and personal relationships in the town. I think this will bring stability to the board, and it will add rules that allow the chair to enforce if anyone steps out of line,” Lyscars said.

The vote was 3-2, with David Pearl joining Lyscars in supporting the change.

Lyscars said that he has done research showing that the Hooksett Town Council and Manchester Board of School Committee have similar rules.

“School Board members should not have to display smiley faces as I did,” Lyscars said, referring to a previous School Board meeting where he mockingly held up a pink, winking smiley face at residents who criticized his behavior. Lyscars apologize to anyone he had offended with the sign.

Board member Phil Denbow, who has been a frequent target of personal criticism by Lyscars on social media, voted against the policy change. He said he would vote for the policy change only if the same rules applied to social media, “which we can’t do,” Denbow said.

Pearl said, “This board needs control. This adds to that control, so I would support it. Social media issues can be solved in social media.”

Korkosz said that before she could vote for the proposed change she would require further examination of the proposal and suggested the Policy Committee review it.

That didn’t sit well with Lyscars or Pearl, who argued that the purpose of the Policy Committee is to word policy changes that the board has approved, not to propose changes.

After the board voted down the proposal, resident and frequent critic of the School Board Jason Hyde called the board’s discussion on the proposed policy change a debacle during public comment.

“That is why people like me get frustrated with you guys. This would have helped take personality out of things, and it just blows my mind that you guys just did that,” Hyde said.

Resident Ray Miclette said he agreed with Hyde.

“I am at a loss why you wouldn’t have something this simple that would keep things going polite and on topic. The fact the vote went 2-3 again just shows everyone how polarized this board is.”

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