Rep. Bell says she ‘articulated wrong’ when she called for a school board member to be removed

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A state lawmaker is correcting the record after saying in a committee hearing that a Polk County school board member needed to be removed.

Rep. Melony Bell, who is from Fort Meade and represents parts of Polk County, was discussing the need for term limits for school board members during a House Pre K – 12 Innovation subcommittee hearing last week.

“We have a school board member in Polk County, I’ll go on record, that most likely needs to be removed,” she said. “The governor has not removed him. It’s taken time after time after time. He just disrupts the whole school board, the teachers, the association.”

Bell went on to say the only way to remove this school board member was to set term limits.

She told 8 On Your Side Monday that she was referring to school board member Billy Townsend and should not have said he needed to be removed.

“I think I just articulated it wrong. I was trying to explain that I firmly believe in term limits, gives a fresh pool of people every time,” she said.

She clarified Townsend has not done anything that warrants his removal by the governor.

“Elected officials and institutional leaders too often form kind of a club and I’m not in that club. I don’t want to be in that club,” said Billy Townsend.

He recently traveled with hundreds of teachers to Tallahassee to rally for more funding, among other demands.

He also was the one who shared a letter from the Florida Department of Education that said teachers who attended the rally were at risk of being fired.

“I’m going to keep doing the job I was elected to do until the people throw me out. I’m direct and tell the truth a best as I can see it. I’m not infallible,” said Townsend.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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