PEORIA -- The Peoria School District 150 Board on Dec. 10 heard from the public at three events, mixed together. They were the required hearings on the tax levy and holiday waivers (a formality required by the state) and the usual public comments.
Peoria Federation of Teachers Bob Darling had the most interesting comments, when he said teachers soon will be asked to evaluate their professional development sessions and school discipline. Teachers have informally complained about the professional development sessions, and discipline remains a hot topic.
Their survey results should be worthwhile. Let's hope they're made public.
Darling also said teachers and principals are suffering stress and anxiety, and need more support from the staff, "someone they can vent to."
Some teachers are resigning, Darling said, and others are planning to resign. "If we can save good teachers from resigning," he said, implying that stress levels need to be lowered.
He also said the shortage of substitute teachers means other teachers must cover classrooms for absent teachers, and do without their preparation periods, which is causing problems, even though they're paid extra for doing that.
Activist Terry Knapp questioned the way Peoria HIgh School basketball coach Ruffin was treated when he was suspended for five games because he does not allow students to wear dreadlocks.
Knapp said the incident has been mishandled and Ruffin did not receive due process.He said the board should suspend Supt Grenita Lathan over the way she handled the incident.
But when Lathan commented, she said Ruffin did receive due process and the chain of command was followed. Due to personnel privacy, the district cannot tell its side of the story, she said.
Board president Chris Crawford backed her up, saying "decisions by the superintendent are not made in a vacuum, we are informed of the details but can't discuss them. Due process was followed."
-- Elaine Hopkins