Self-described citizen activist Simon Campbell addressed the Pennsbury School Board on June 17, 2021 regarding the removal of some public comments given at the March 18, 2021 and May 20, 2021 school board meetings when the videos of those meetings were published online by the district. He brought into question the legality to edit the videos to remove any comments. The impacted comments were in opposition of the school board’s consideration to adopting an equity policy some in the community considered similar to Critical Race Theory.
According to Mr. Campbell, as of June 18, the Pennsbury School District’s video recordings of the March and May school board meetings show “edited due to content” in lieu of the comments deemed inappropriate. The local online news organization LevittownNow.com also reported at least one video was edited to remove some comments. As of the writing this article, however, the videos seem to show the original unedited versions.
When addressing the board Mr. Campbell quoted a US Supreme Court decision he felt was important for the them to hear. The recording he posted on YouTube (embedded below) he is heard calling the board members “snowflakes” and called School Board President Christine Toy-Dragoni “Benito Mussolini”.
It was reported by LevittownNow.com it was at that point school board attorney Michael Clarke warned Mr. Campbell would be asked to step away if he continued the “personal insults” in accordance with board policy. The policy referenced allows “comments that become personally directed, abusive, obscene, or irrelevant will be ended immediately.
Mr. Campbell advised that policy was in violation to the US Constitution. He went on to cite the Supreme Court case verbatim reading from his phone.
The United States, as the Supreme Court noted in NY Times v. Sullivan, is founded on the “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” The Pennsbury School Board is not allowed to enact a public comment policy that supersedes a higher law and there is no higher law than the United States Constitution. These government officials at Pennsbury mistakenly believe that all power in inherent in the Government.
Cheers and applause erupted behind Mr. Campbell multiple times during his impassioned remarks. He finished by demanding the board immediately fire Director of Equity and Diversity, Teresa Gibson, and all 9 board members resign their positions on the board.