Court decision requires School Board to follow video recording policy

Published 12:01 am Saturday, December 11, 2021

EDGARD — In a judgment signed and dated by the Honorable J. Sterling Snowdy on November 2, 2021, the 40th Judicial District Court ordered that the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board must follow its policy in regard to videotaping meetings.

Petitioner Shondrell Perrilloux brought the matter to the court earlier this year after noticing that the School Board had not made videos of meetings accessible through its website since April 2020.

Additionally, in response to a public records request submitted on July 29, 2021, a School Board representative stated that there was no existing audio or video of the February 13, 2020 meeting.

Perrilloux and School Board counsel Charles F. Hardie VI appeared before Judge Snowdy on the morning of October 14, 2021. After considering the pleadings of both parties as well as the evidence submitted to the court, it was ordered that the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board must follow Policy BJBC, which requires audio/videotaping and safekeeping in meetings and forwarding said records to the local cable TV company for public broadcast, as long as the policy is in effect.

The judgment does not prohibit the St. John Parish School Board from exercising statutory powers to revise its policies as it deems necessary.

Policy BJBC was adopted on September 21, 1978 and revised in July 1999. The policy states: “Regular and special meetings of the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board shall be videotaped in order to be broadcast by the cable TV company to the public. Two copies of each School Board meeting tape shall be made at the time the meeting takes place. One copy shall be forwarded to the cable TV company for public broadcast. The second copy should be kept for safekeeping in the Central Office vault.”