HOMER – Heritage Education Association (HEA) President Lori Aten plans to attend tonight’s special school board meeting to call for change to better protect students and staff. Aten plans to ask the school board to add trained hallway monitor staff similar to positions in other school districts.
This comes after a Heritage school teacher stopped a kindergartener from running out of the school. The teacher acted appropriately, but the situation has sparked concern in the community.
“The concerns expressed by some in the community over how this intervention took place need to be addressed. We hear your concerns. We believe we need to come together and move forward,” Aten said. “The HEA is calling on the board to hire trained staff to be available in our halls for the purpose of intervening in situations just like this. This is something other schools in the area already have and they assist in situations just like this one. Our students deserve this dedicated support and our staff do, as well.”
HEA represents 60 teachers, nurses, secretaries, bus drivers, maintenance workers, custodians and teachers’ aides working in Heritage Community Unit School District 8. District 8 serves the nearly 400 students who attend Heritage High School and Heritage Junior High and Elementary School.
“The teacher in question has been a teacher for almost 12 years. She is devoted to her students and worked through so many changes over the years — everything from countless state mandates to the enormous impact the pandemic had on our students educationally. Through it all, the ongoing support of our community has been invaluable. Going above and beyond is a hallmark of our community and it’s a hallmark of our schools. It is, in fact, a hallmark of this devoted teacher,” Aten said.
Aten will attend the board meeting this evening and plans to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting. The special board meeting is at 6 p.m. at Heritage Junior High and Elementary School (512 W. First St., Homer).
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest union. IEA represents Pre K-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.