Guest Column: Speech to the Rockford School Board

November 10, 2010

Editor’s note: The following comments were to be given during the public comments period of the Nov. 9 Rockford Board of Education meeting. For more about the Nov. 9 Board of Education meeting, including Rockford Public School District 205 Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield’s response to her critics, click here.

By Shannon Symonds

I am here tonight [Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010] to protest the unethical actions of this administration and the subsequent non-action of the BOE (Board of Education) that relates to me personally.

I am a former four-year teacher, one day from tenure, with excellent district evaluations, who was not rehired this past summer. During my ordeal, I have simply wanted my job back.

I allege that as a District 205 teacher, I have been discriminated against by this administration for having been assaulted by a student and reporting it. Furthermore, I have subsequently aggravated the situation by speaking to the BOE about improprieties in the hiring process. Make no mistake; in questioning the ethics of this administrator, I have received her wrath. Principals have been told by this administration not to interview me and not to recommend my name for rehire. I can prove that at least twice I have been the preferred, most-qualified candidate for advertised teaching positions, but building administrators have been overruled in their choice by the Human Resource Department, at the direction of this administration.

Unfortunately, the school board has refused to fully investigate my allegations of retaliation, as the majority of members feel that this is not their role. Board President David Kelley has NEVER even acknowledged my multiple correspondences, which is no wonder why teachers do not come forth.

Nonetheless, without a committee investigation, I have been forced to take legal action. As of late October, my attorney sent notice to all board members.

My allegations of unethical, retaliatory actions on behalf of Dr. Sheffield should be investigated. I remind you the charges are not only unethical, but illegal. As such, I ask the citizens of Rockford to not accept this behavior, to demand an investigation of these charges and not accept the non-action of this board.

Sadly, I realize my favorable legal outcome, on my behalf, would be at the expense of the taxpayers and not as it should be, on the superintendent. Taxpayers, this is your city and your schools; please do not let this continue; demand that the superintendent be held accountable for her actions.

Shannon Symonds is a former four-year teacher in Rockford School District 205.

From the Nov. 10-16, 2010 issue


  1. Taxpayer2

    November 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I specifically remember David Kelley speaking about there, absolutely being no fear of retribution in enforcing the discipline code. Any such claims would be fully investigated. Yet, Symonds says he’s never even contacted her. Kelley, I suggest you back up what you said in December and address these claims.

  2. Dione

    November 10, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Ms Symonds I commend you for taking action. Don’t you feel bad about it one bit. I urge you to take your story to the news stations and the RR–birdcage liner.
    I realize Linda (frigid) Cunningham and Anna Bannana the comment Nazi will whine foul, but the citizens need to know about this.

  3. Bill

    November 10, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Kelley and the rest of the board don’t even care about any of these lawsuits. It is not their money. They just want to keep putting RPS 205 further and further in debt.

    Also, Sheffield’s comments where she said she has acted within state laws is entirely untruthful. She has yet to release the Hardy letter that the courts have now said twice that need to be released. What is she teaching our children by breaking the law?

  4. former205tchr

    November 10, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Looking to hear from other former 205 teachers who were not rehired and feel they were retaliated against. No obligations. email Shannon @

  5. Mary Jo Powers

    November 16, 2010 at 6:44 am

    I applaud you, Shannon, for taking this public. When I was still teaching, I always told my students the only way to stop a bully is to tell someone. The same applies here…she’s a bully and we must be brave enough to stand up to her! Bravo to you for doing so!

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