Guest Column: See more clearly

May 5, 2010

By Jane Hayes

“Feed me, I am hungry…” Audrey II bellowed to Seymour, the meek florist, in Little Shop of Horrors. So Seymour dutifully offered Audrey, the monstrous plant, his own blood, sustaining the bloodthirsty plant while sacrificing his own well-being. Never did I imagine I would see such a comedic disaster turn tragic in the community that has been my home for the past 30 years; nor did I believe I would witness the fear, retaliation, and spiritual bloodletting affecting staff and students in Rockford School District 205, but it is happening.

Saturday, April 24, my friend and I took treats to Guilford High School for the job fair. Oddly, the handles had been removed from the doors so that a central door had to be entered. Unfortunately, we, as well as other well-meaning parents, and current teachers, were sent to a remote upper balcony that was difficult to find, even though I had taught in the building. In our little segregated corner of the school, we had six to eight long cafeteria tables heaped with food and beverages to nourish the spirits of the teachers who were interviewing. Because the nourishment was so difficult to access, we assumed that fliers could be posted or passed to the incoming teachers. Rudely, our simple signs were taken down by the leadership of the district, and we were told that we could not hand out the directions to anyone on school property. What a fiasco! No wonder teachers are afraid. No wonder we have such chaos in the schools. This was a non-partisan effort that should have been welcomed—not denied. Our community does not need more bullies, but a sense of ethics and civility, sorely missing at 201 S. Madison St.

Our community has lost far too much by sacrificing many good staff members. With 18 percent unemployment in Rockford, let’s feed our own loyal people spiritually, emotionally and physically. Let’s stop the bloodletting. So, even though “Suddenly, Seymour” is a catchy song from Little Shop of Horrors, it is also a rallying cry to See More clearly what is really happening to our friends and neighbors in the public schools.

Jane Hayes is a member of WEE (Watchdogs for Ethics in Education), a grassroots community group that seeks to hold the current school administration accountable.

From the May 5-11, 2010 issue

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