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Lindenhurst board of education votes to videotape meetings

Lindenhurst High School is pictured in a file

Lindenhurst High School is pictured in a file photo. Credit: Alexi Knock

In a move that reverses its previous vote, the Lindenhurst board of education has decided to videotape all board meetings.

Last week the board voted 7-0, with two members absent, to approve the videotaping. The vote reverses a decision from October when the board voted 5-4 against a proposal regarding videotaping meetings. In that resolution, it was proposed that the district videotape entire meetings, including public comments.

The district began videotaping meetings in July, but after public outcry, the board began to reconsider the policy. Residents expressed concern about repercussions from speaking out in public and worried that viewers would get a distorted perspective if they saw only portions of the video reposted. Some board members, however, argued that having documentation of the meetings online would help combat the spread of misinformation and bolster transparency.

The district had the videographer stop recording whenever there were public comments or questions, and the result was a choppy representation of the meetings, district officials said, questioning the value of the recordings.

The videos were also largely unwatched by the public: The district reported the highest number of views for a single meeting was 17, with most garnering between one and five views each.

Board member Ed Langone, who previously voted against the recordings, said he had noticed an increase in misinformation in the community.

“I know that this issue was divisive,” he said. “But this is a public meeting, and a videotaped record provides a crystal-clear, undisputable picture of what transpired.”

The meetings will be recorded by the district’s IT company, Long Island Computer Networks, at a rate of $185 per meeting, said district spokeswoman Deirdre Gilligan. The videos will be housed on the district site for the school year and then archived, she said.

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