Video of last week’s Vancouver, Washington Public Schools board meeting was pulled by YouTube for violating its community standards by spreading misinformation about COVID-19.
The recording, originally posted to the VPS Board of Directors’ YouTube page, was removed by YouTube on July 17 — four days after the July 13 school board meeting was dominated by more than an hour of public comment featuring 18 speakers.
Seventeen of the 18 spoke in-person, and many comments were about masks in schools, COVID-19 and critical race theory. Among the misinformation shared were claims that masks were ineffective. Profanity by audience members also was used at the meeting.
In its message to VPS, YouTube stated: “YouTube does not allow content that spread medical misinformation that contradicts the World Health Organization (WHO) or local health authorities’ medical information about COVID-19, including methods to prevent, treat or diagnose COVID-19 and means of transmission of COVID-19.”
According to the district, this is its first violation of YouTube guidelines and policies. A subsequent violation within 90 days results in a ban on uploading content for 14 days.
An edited recording was uploaded by the district Monday to the VPS Board of Directors’ YouTube page. That video cut out all public comments and has not been removed by YouTube.
The school board learned of YouTube’s actions Monday, said board chair Kyle Sproul. She called the move unfortunate, but added, “It is still a priority of the board to publish video record of our board business.”
The district began posting all recordings of board meetings to YouTube last summer when meetings were conducted virtually. Last week’s board meeting was held in-person with limited attendance at the Bates Center for Educational Leadership and simultaneously recorded live via Zoom.
District spokeswoman Pat Nuzzo said an audio recording of the July 13 board meeting — with public comments included — will soon be made available.