New rules designed to govern conduct at District 99 meetings

Community High School District 99 has adopted a set of rules designed to keep order at school board meetings.

The rules come following the November board meeting during which several residents--and a handful of members of the Proud Boys--displayed signs and posters in opposition to the book “Gender Queer.”

Author Maia Kobabe, who is nonbinary, wrote the 239-page graphic novel to help others who are struggling with gender identity to feel less alone. The book also explores questions around pronouns and hormone-blocking therapies.

Complaints about “Gender Queer” are the latest chapter in a fight conservative activists have brought to the monthly school board meetings over the past several months. Opponents said they are not against the book’s message, but oppose its graphic images.

The activists, many who belong to a group called Wake Up D99, also have voiced opposition to the district’s proposed block schedule as well as CRT and DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) indoctrination, according to a recent social media post.

Several “No Porn” placards were on display during the November meeting along with larger posters that displayed the more graphic illustrations featured in “Gender Queer.” Additionally, some residents who spoke in favor of the book were interrupted by hecklers in the audience.

In addition to the ban on posters, “no noisemakers, shouting, signs, flags, banners or anything that interferes with the video production and streaming of the meeting will be allowed in the building,” according to a letter sent Dec. 7 to the District 99 community.

Additionally, “visitors will not verbally or physically harass or threaten others in the room nor will they prevent the board from conducting its business or interfere with those addressing the board during public comment,” the statement said.

Starting Dec. 13, board meetings will take place at the District 99 Administrative Service Center, 6301 Springside Ave., Downers Grove, and will continue to be live streamed at

Due to social distancing requirements, the first 20 visitors in line at the doors facing Springside Ave. will be allowed into the building 10 minutes prior to the start of a meeting.

As a result of social distancing, the district relocated school board meetings to several different large settings over the past year such as the auditorium at Downers Grove North, the site of the November meeting.

“Over the past several months, the potential and actual increased disagreement by visitors has led to an increased need for security and community resources during board meetings, including those of the Downers Grove police department and other local law enforcement agencies.

“Even with many changes in our processes, which have included, among others, increased security and uniformed officers in the room, we have been unable to maintain an environment where all visitors, students, staff and board members feel safe and are free from verbal harassment and threats,” the statement said.

Failure to follow safety and COVID protocols will result in removal from the board meeting and may result in restricted admission to school events or meetings for up to one calendar year, the statement said.

“The administration and board of education in District 99 are dedicated to serving the students, families, and community in District 99,” the statement said. “However, our ability to carry on this business effectively is being limited by some individuals at meetings from inside and outside of our community. To maintain the safety of everyone, we are taking these measures to ensure the entire community can effectively have oversight of the board’s business.”

School board meetings are meetings held in public so the community has an opportunity to hear and observe the work of the board and the administration. While members of the public are given a limited opportunity to address the board, these meetings are not intended to serve as a public forum for open sharing of political views and opinions.

Rather, the statement said, “the primary purpose of the meeting is for the board to take action on district business on the agenda.” Those in attendance can speak during the public comment portion of the meeting.

The public may contact and share their perspectives at any time with the superintendent directly at or the board at

Board meetings with limited public attendance have the option for the public to use this form to provide comments. Submissions will be shared with all board members and will be made part of the official record. Should an entry contain personally identifiable information or offensive language, the information or comment will be removed from the record. The form will open the morning of a board meeting and close after the meeting ends.