Iowa Reporter Denied Entry To Local School Board Meeting
An Iowa school district has issued an apology to a TV news reporter for the way that she was treated for covering a school board meeting on Monday night.
According to the Des Moines Register Ankeny School Superintendent Erick Pruitt issued the following statement to KCCI reporter Lauren Johnson.
On behalf of myself and the Ankeny School District, I would like to formally apologize to KCCI reporter Lauren Johnson for her experience at the board meeting on Monday, April 4th.
The school board meeting was being held due to the response online after a job posting for a diversity specialist for the district disappeared. Members of the community came to the meeting wanting an answer from the board, according to the Register. Pruitt admitted that the district simply wasn't ready for the crowd. KCCI reporter Johnson, who is black, took to Twitter after she was not allowed into the room after the meeting hit capacity.
Superintendent Pruitt stated that Johnson and others were asked to wait until space became available following a presentation. The Register reports that the goal was to obey the fire code, as the meeting room has a capacity of 35 people. An overflow area wasn't available due to ongoing construction.
In his apology, Pruitt went on to say that future meetings will reserve a space available for the news media. They are also looking at larger venues when public interest in that week's meeting is high. The Register reports that Johnson wrote on Twitter that healing from this incident will take a while, but hopes that her story will mean "other journalists in Iowa won't be turned away from doing their job".