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Anyone planning to visit Greene County buildings may want to consider if what they're wearing in appropriate. On Monday, county commissioners added offensive clothing and petitioning to the list of what they consider disruptive conduct in county buildings. KSMU's Benjamin Fry spoke to a county commissioner and has this report.
Offensive clothing and petitioning were added to a policy created from a 1996 court order.The policy applies to the county campus area near downtown Springfield, which includes the Greene County Courthouse and other municipal buildings.Greene County Commissioner Dave Coonrod says this decision was made out of consideration of those who work in these buildings."We want everyone to have free speech and the ability to express themselves, but we also recognize that we have to conduct business here in a rational, civilized fashion," Coonrod said.Coonrod says the decision is a proactive one that will make it easier for the commission to address any disruptions that may arise.Under this policy, county employees will be able to confront disruptive individuals, as well as to ask those wearing offensive clothing to conceal it.If the person refuses to conceal the offensive clothing, or to leave the premises when asked, the employee may contact the county commission or the sheriff's department.In regards to what is deemed offensive clothing, Coonrod says that determination would be up to the county commission."If it had profanity on it, for example, or something that implied hate or discrimination or perhaps pornographic, these are the sorts of things that would be disruptive," Coonrod said.Coonrod says the public shouldn't see this as an infringement on the right to free speech."We do have a space designated for them to express themselves; that is a legitimate position for us to take in providing that area for protests or petitioners or whatever," Coonrod said.The areas where people can still petition or protest include the sidewalks at the perimeter of the county campus, as well as the exterior steps of the Greene County Courthouse.Below is a map of the County Campus area of Springfield. Its borders are highlighted in red.
For KSMU news, I'm Benjamin Fry.