I made the mistake of attending State Representative Calvin Giles' hearing on the achievement gap and discipline problems at District 200.
This was my first time going to a legislative hearing. I thought I could add some facts and quality information.
I am a graduate of Oak Park River Forest High School and have had relatives in the Oak Park school system since the 1940s. Two of my children have graduated from OPRF and my youngest is now a senior. I have been on a number of committees for both District 97 and 200. This hearing caused me brain damage.
Mr. Giles, a house representative for part of Oak Park, was either doing a PR stunt of some kind or he and his committee are very stupid people. Representative Monique Davis commented that she "believes there's a problem at OPRF stemming from the culture created by administrators and the board." She has never been to OPRF or talked to a single administrator at the high school. How can an elected official make such broad and baseless comments in a public session?
All representatives, House and Senate, need to get independent facts before they waste our money on unsubstantiated gripe sessions for parents and judges with single-minded personal agendas. Despite the fact that the Office of Civil Rights has investigated several of the claims discussed at the meeting and concluded that OPRF acted without discrimination in any of the cases, our legislators feel that they know better without any investigation.
I cannot explain to the residents of our communities the ridiculousness of this so-called hearing. I stayed for two hours and 36 minutes. I read in the paper that the hearing went on for almost 4 hours and that Dr. Bridge was not even allowed to provide her entire testimony.
This sounds like a Kangaroo Court. We would not want to be confused by all the facts, only one side of the story from a very small number of disgruntled parents. It seems that these parents with children who have acted out at school want to blame the school for their children's misbehavior instead of taking responsibility for their children's actions.
This meeting should not have been held. We need new representatives.