Outrage after school board blocks Black journalist: ‘Public meetings are public meetings. Period.’
Lauren Johnson TV on Facebook.

On Wednesday, the Iowa Association of Black Journalists released a statement condemning the attempted exclusion of KCCI News reporter Lauren Johnson from the Ankeny School District's meeting on Monday.

"The Ankeny School District's decision to try and restrict KCCI Reporter Lauren Johnson, a Black Female journalist, from covering a school board meeting is reprehensible, anti-democratic, and impedes the rights of a free press," said the statement, which was retweeted by the Iowa Capitol Press. "To make matters worse, the decision to prevent a journalist of color from covering a meeting about the district's decision to remove a posting for a position that tackles diversity, equity and inclusivity within Ankeny Schools speaks volumes. It also provides another example of why that position may be necessary."

"Public meetings are public meetings," continued the statement. "Period."

According to Johnson's account of what happened that evening, she was initially told she wasn't allowed in despite contacting the board's communications team in advance to let them know she would be covering the meeting. When she protested, the district's attorney accused her of being "loud" and told her to watch the proceedings on the livestream.

This incident occurred amid race controversies at schools in Iowa; in January, parents in Pleasant Valley sued over a TikTok video in which students wore blackface and conducted a mock execution.

The school district formally apologized to Johnson.