The hearing officer, Hugh Dorsey III, has also asked that those who are admitted into the hearing follow a strict code of conduct to ensure fairness.
Cherokee County School District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby sent an email Wednesday detailing Dorsey’s requests.
“Mr. Dorsey asked that public attendance at the hearing be limited; accordingly, only 100 members of the public will be admitted to the auditorium,” Jacoby wrote. “The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the first 100 people waiting in line will be admitted by Cherokee County School District Police Officers, who will be providing security — also at Mr. Dorsey’s request.”
Marlow said Wednesday she appreciates Dorsey’s decision.
“I appreciate the work being done by Mr. Dorsey to provide the framework for a fair hearing. It is also refreshing that this hearing officer believes in decorum at public meetings,” Marlow said. “However, I do not believe that limiting the audience is in the best interest of the taxpayers who desire transparent government.”
The total of 100 people who will be admitted into the hearing does not include school board members, the superintendent and his cabinet, the school board attorney, hearing officer, court reporter, Marlow’s attorney and the media, according to Jacoby’s email.
Jacoby said Wednesday that a live broadcast of the hearing will take place at the Cherokee High School auditorium, at 930 Marietta Highway in Canton.
“Audience members will be asked to refrain from making comments and other reactions during the broadcast so that everyone may hear the proceedings,” Jacoby said.
Doors to the live broadcast will open at 5:30 p.m., and the broadcast will start at 6 p.m., when the hearing begins.
The decision to hold the hearing into Marlow’s complaint letter to AdvancEd and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the agency in charge of school accreditation, was made unanimously by the school board in July, with Marlow joining her fellow board members in calling for the ethics code violation hearing.
“Mr. Dorsey also made specific requests regarding the decorum, behavior and appearance of members of the public who are admitted to attend the hearing,” Jacoby wrote.
According to Jacoby, Dorsey requested that there be no comments or other reactions like cheering, clapping or heckling from the audience at the hearing.
In addition, Dorsey asked that there be no signs or other displays, “including messages printed on clothing,” that reflect opinions about Marlow or related issues, Jacoby wrote.
“Clothing that reflects personal opinions regarding school board members or other issues related to the hearing will not be permitted in the auditorium,” Jacoby said. “If a person cannot cover the message up with another article of clothing they have with them, the officer would ask the person to reverse the clothing item (they would be allowed to use the restroom for such purposes); but, if that is not possible, the person would not be permitted in the auditorium. If a person has a sign, they would need to leave it outside.”
School Board Attorney Tom Roach will represent the school board at the hearing, and Jacoby confirmed that a court reporter has been hired for the hearing.
The ethics hearing will start at 6 p.m. on Oct. 2 in the historic Canton High School Board Auditorium located at 111 Academy Street in Canton.