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Left Justified: Schools are governed by law

February 23, 2011

By Stanley Campbell

I think the biggest shock for teachers came when police were removed from the schools, and rowdy students had to be dealt with in a more lenient manner. It was a way for the then-new administration to take control and change the ease with which many teachers used their penal skills, often to the detriment of minority students.

But, as with many plans, they went awry when there were no alternatives in place. Discipline broke down, and anarchy reigned (at least for a few days). Order was quickly restored, but not before the difference between school and prison was demonstrated.

I usually side with teachers on many disputes. It is a hard job. I went to Guilford at the invite of a teacher, and was planning to give a talk to five classes. By the third class, I was exhausted.

Teachers must teach, counsel, discipline, administer, clerk and answer to angry parents. They are not allowed to have prejudices (though a few wrongly exhibit theirs).

In this latest struggle, accusations are being thrown about doing away with teachers’ unions, whether there’s a $5 or $50 million budget shortfall, and the honesty of our school administrators. God help those in charge.

And those in charge are coming up for election. How do we get a chance to meet them?

I’ve been involved in a number of candidate forums, and found them to be among the best and quickest ways to at least familiarize myself with those seeking public office.

Candidates for the Rockford School District 205 Board of Education will participate in an open forum beginning at 2 p.m., Sunday, March 6, hosted at First Presbyterian Church, 406 N. Main St., downtown Rockford (parking in the lot north of the church).

The program is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by Rockford Area Lutheran Ministries, Rockford Urban Ministries, American Association of University Women, and the League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford.

The forum provides a neutral, informational setting for church and community members to see and hear about issues and candidates appearing on the April 5 election ballot. The order of the evening is as follows:

School Board candidates each will have 3 minutes to introduce themselves.

The moderator will then question candidates. Each candidate will have a 2-minute summation. Susan Stephens from WNIJ Public Radio will serve as the moderator. We expect the forum will last approximately two hours. Tables will be provided for campaign literature. Refreshments will be served.

The church is accessible for those with special needs. Everyone will enter at the North Main Street door. The church is across the street from Beattie Park.

Past forums hosted by these organizations have been very well attended, and I hope you avail yourself of this oportunity.

And say a prayer for the schools.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

From the Feb. 23-March 1, 2011, issue

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