HOMER – The Heritage Education Association President (HEA) Lori Aten issued the following statement:
“The Heritage School teacher, who has been vilified in the news media, is an outstanding educator. She’s worked in public education for years and is devoted to the students she serves and her community. Recently, she was named and identified in a WCIA 3 news story regarding an unsubstantiated allegation. It is important to know the school district cleared her of any wrongdoing. An investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) also found she did nothing wrong. Further, the Champaign County State’s Attorney chose not to charge her with any crime. It’s a sad state of affairs that WCIA chose to air this story and damage this teacher’s reputation, knowing full well that no charges were forthcoming. Clearly, this poorly reported story was a blatant attempt to gain ratings.
It’s especially egregious when you consider we are in the middle of a teacher shortage in this state. There are teachers retiring early, leaving the profession mid-career and many young people choosing not to be teachers at all. This is a crisis, especially here in Central Illinois where many positions remain unfilled even now several months into the school year. This is why it’s even more important that we acknowledge the good work our teachers and support staff engage in every day. Together they’re making sure every student is given the opportunity to grow and succeed. They’re working with parents to ensure every family’s needs are met and assisting administrators so we can continue to offer a high-quality public education to all of our students. Their work builds strong students, strong schools and strong communities.”
At 135,000 members strong, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) is the largest union in Illinois. The IEA represents PreK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty and support staff, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.