‘This was a completely avoidable accident’: Parents, teachers discuss all concerns at Urbana School Board meeting

‘This was a completely avoidable accident’: Parents, teachers discuss all concerns at Urbana School Board meeting

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – Teachers in the Urbana School District spent more than an hour at a school board meeting demanding better action from the board.

The district has announced new hires, including the principal of the yet-to-be-named dual-language school. But teachers and parents say there are more pressing issues that need to be addressed.

Most of the teachers at the meeting were from Yankee Ridge Elementary and Urbana Middle School. They didn’t have the exact same reasons for walking out, but they did share one talking point: transparency across the region.

“This was a completely avoidable incident,” one teacher said at the meeting.

The most recent Urbana School Board meeting was where two district-wide issues came to a head. Teachers are scheduled to hold a protest after a March 25 incident that sent a special needs student at Urbana Middle School to the hospital with a broken neck.

“To me, going to work or school knowing that you might come home with a serious injury doesn’t seem like an acceptable risk because that’s the case in our building,” an Urbana Middle School teacher said.

Middle school teachers say they gave the district notice of their protest plans on Monday as early as the previous Thursday morning.

“The district could have sent out an email on Saturday morning informing parents of the possibility of Monday being an e-learning day,” said Julie Duvall, a parent in the district.

Attending teachers say a lack of communication leads to a common complaint across the district

“When the district has to make decisions, they don’t look at all the players and how they are affected,” Duvall said.

During public comment, Yankee Ridge teachers said they would have liked to see that transparency during the dual language discussion. A director has been named, but the location has not yet been announced.

“There is a tremendous amount of mistrust and frustration with the community. Delaying this vote just two weeks after the redistricting vote would go a long way in restoring some of the community’s trust with the central office and the board,” a spokesperson said.

The dual language program will be held at either Yankee Ridge School or Thomas Paine Elementary School. The latter comparison favors Yankee Ridge.

Between safety concerns and what teachers call “poor communication,” many are left asking a similar question.

“Why stay? Why stay in a place where I feel unappreciated, where I feel undervalued, where I feel unheard?

Now that the dual language program boundary plan has been received, the Board will decide this during the next meeting on April 16.

Among the pros of choosing Yankee Ridge as a bilingual school are:

  • Possibility of flexibility in program growth.
  • Twice as many students will be affected, with 41 former Wiley students currently attending.
  • It currently houses a dual French language programme.

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