Statement of Livestream Practices Skip to main content

Statement of Livestream Practices

In order to comply with state law and local board policies, as well as to provide increased transparency and accountability to the public, the Bulloch County Board of Education broadcasts its meetings via livestream video on the Bulloch County Schools website. The Board also posts unedited archived video of all meetings within 24 hours of each meeting’s conclusion. In addition to public notice of meetings, the school district posts meeting agendas, board packets, and links to each meeting’s livestream and archived video to its website and district Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Public Participation in meetings

Board meetings are governed by Georgia’s Open Meetings Act (O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1 et seq.), Georgia Department of Education policies, and local Board of Education policies. Under local board policy, the right to speak during a Board meeting is limited to a public participation time on each regular session meeting’s agenda. The relevant policy allows members of the public to “address the Board of Education concerning issues other than specific student or individual matters,” provided the speaker does the following:

  • Signs in to speak at the meeting prior to its start
  • Limits the length of his or her comments
  • Refrains from personal attacks
  • Refrains from discussion of individual personnel matters

These restrictions are in place so that the school district can ensure employee and student privacy in compliance with the Federal Educational Rights & Privacy Act for student privacy and federal open records and labor laws for employee privacy. Compliance with federal privacy laws are the main reason the school district does not use Facebook Live or other social media livestream tools to broadcast its meetings.

Why Facebook Live & Social Media Tools are not used to livestream meetings

The Board does not livestream meetings on Facebook Live or other social media livestream tools for these reasons:

  • The Board livestreams its meetings to its website. This complies with all applicable state laws, Georgia Department of Education policies, and local board policies; 
  • As of the publication of these school district practices, Facebook Live only streams content to the Facebook platform. Not every member of the public has a Facebook profile, so to livestream using Facebook Live would limit public accessibility to view a Board meeting  livestream;
  • Livestreaming to the Bulloch County Schools website allows any member of the public with sufficient Internet capabilities to access the livestream;
  • Facebook Live only archives video within a Facebook post, which limits the Board’s ability to preserve meeting videos in an easily-accessible manner. The Bulloch County Schools website allows archived videos to be grouped together in a list on one spot instead of scrolling through other Facebook posts to find an archived Facebook Live meeting stream;
  • Facebook owns any content posted on its platform and monetizes its news feeds where archived videos are posted. As a result, digital advertisements that may not be appropriate for our audiences could be displayed alongside a public school board’s archived meeting livestream within Facebook;
  • Facebook’s best practices for its Government & Politics users suggests using Facebook Live for live performances, press conferences, town hall meetings, basic question-and-answer sessions, and behind-the-scenes videos of special events, not business meetings governed by privacy laws, policies, or Robert’s Rules of Order; 
  • Facebook Live feeds cannot be controlled internally and could be hacked, misappropriated, misused, or pirated outside of the control of the school district’s information technology staff; and
  • Facebook does not allow the school district to disable or moderate public comments either during a Facebook Live video or when the video is posted to a News Feed. For those reasons, the comment sections within the livestream itself and on the News Feed would contravene the limited circumstances in which the public can participate in Board meetings and change the Board meeting format to a town hall meeting instead of a business meeting that is open to public view, and it would likely lead to violations of the Federal Educational Rights & Privacy Act and other state and federal laws that protect student and employee privacy.

Other social media platforms with livestreaming capabilities have the same or similar issues, further justifying the livestream of Board meetings over the Bulloch County Schools website only.

Livestream Meetings during an emergency

“Under circumstances necessitated by emergency conditions involving public safety or the preservation of property or public services,” the Board may conduct meetings exclusively by livestream, but the Board will continue to comply with all public notice, agenda, access, and participation requirements imposed by state law and local board policy. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(g).

Key Contacts

Board of Education 
Legal Counsel

Edenfield, Cox, Bruce & Edenfield
115 Savannah Avenue
Statesboro, GA 30458
912.764.8600    

Board of Education News Media/Student Media Contact & Public Information Officer

Hayley Greene, Director
Public Relations Department
912.212.8512 or 912.536.2827