BURLINGTON – Tonight, teachers, community members, students and parents plan to gather in their cars and “honk to have their voices heard” at a car rally just before the Central School District 301 Board of Education (BOE) meeting.
The COVID-19 pandemic means only a small group will be allowed to attend tonight’s BOE meeting in person. So, this evening, dozens of cars will line the streets outside the Central School District offices. Rallygoers will listen to the BOE meeting on their phones, honking to show support for the concerns raised about the district’s return to school plan and the need for a safe and equitable education for their students.
“The safety of our students and our staff is at risk. School is set to start in less than two weeks, and we still don’t have an official plan,” Central Education Association (CEA) President Dave Chapman said. “The district is trying push a plan through that raises serious questions about all of our students receiving an equitable education. Their current plan asks teachers to teach two, or even three groups of students, at once. That’s just not possible. Our students will suffer if we are forced to do this.”
This evening’s car rally is being put on by the CEA. CEA represents 296 teachers, guidance counselors and speech and language pathologists in School District 301. They serve more than 4,300 students in seven schools.
“There are several safety issues. Cleanliness is an issue and was before the pandemic. We need to hire additional custodial staff to make sure our buildings are clean. Members of the administration are not wearing masks when they’re in buildings right now,” Chapman said. “We need to get this right. We can’t afford not to. Lives are at risk.”
Chapman plans to speak at tonight’s BOE meeting. Tonight’s car rally for student safety starts at 5 p.m. outside the Central School District office (275 South St., Burlington). The District 301 BOE meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m. Any news outlets attending the rally are asked to wear a mask and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.