Parents and concerned citizens came to an Autauga County Board of Education (ACBOE) meeting to have their concerns heard, only to be herded outside as the board called in an executive session.

After a slew of issues surrounding Autauga County schools, specifically Prattville High School and Prattville Junior High, parents have been eager to share their concerns in a public forum.

Over the past few weeks, 1819 News has covered several issues within the high school.

On February 2, 1819 News revealed a Prattville High School (PHS) teacher issued a graded assignment to her students asking them to identify their gender, sex, sexual orientation, body size, religious affiliation and more.

On Friday, 1819 News reported that PHS parents were not notified after a student allegedly performed a lewd sexual act on himself during class.

One student was also caught with a gun at the Prattville Junior High School on February 2.

On Tuesday, February 7, ACBOE held a regular meeting that hosted more people than had ever attended a regular meeting. Dozens of parents showed up to voice their displeasure but were informed they had to fill out a form and give advanced notice to address the board.

Only two individuals addressed the board, and ACBOE passed a clear backpack policy at the meeting in response to the gun incident.

On Friday, police called off a scheduled K-9 police search of the high school after a “miscommunication” between PHS principal Daniel Farris and law enforcement, according to Elmore Autauga News.

In light of the multiple incidents, ACBOE announced a “special board meeting” on Tuesday.

Dozens of Parents flocked to the scheduled special meeting on Tuesday, only to find out the ACBOE was having an executive session from which the public was excluded.

Parents shuffled outside of the meeting, confused and incensed at their exclusion.

While some individual board members made social media posts saying the meeting was exclusive, the official announcement from ACBOE did not.

Many reported attending the meeting with the required paperwork to address the board but were told they would not be allowed to speak.

Some parents had general concerns and complaints. Others had sought to address school bullying, the student caught in lewd activity, the recent clear backpack policy and much more.

Patrick Lucas, a local pastor, showed up to advocate for a student he claims was being punished under the zero-tolerance policy for standing up to a bully.

According to Lucas, the student had informed school leadership of the bully and had received no help. He further accused the school leadership of letting the relationship with the alleged bully’s parents affect the outcome.

“This is how it is,” Lucas said. “Everything always gets swept under the rug, and we’ve been crying out that something needs to happen, and it’s just fallen on deaf ears.”

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