Thank you, Macomb, for coming out to support our students after news broke that Macomb 185 is being sued for violating Title IX and the Illinois Premises Liability Act.
Monday night, in front of a crowd in the Board of Ed meeting, the 185 superintendent narrowed his eyebrows, stared me down, abandoned his previously chummy tone, and spoke in an authoritarian manner of his disapproval of my blog and the questions I’ve raised about the Board of Ed agenda. (If he had bothered to read the full threads on Facebook, he would have known that my questions were genuine —no one on the thread indicated they thought I was attempting to “prove” something).
The superintendent’s role at the BoE was to listen only, and since he stepped beyond that, it’s been traumatic for me, because when someone in a position of power adopts such authoritarian tone and words, I worry that he will retaliate against me or my family. The superintendent is the individual most responsible for the school district. It is alleged that his district has violated the rights of students. I feel like he’s trying to violate my rights as well. I don’t like being bullied. I haven’t slept well.
But then I remembered how the audience in the BoE meeting erupted in applause, after my daughter told the Board that “A school is supposed to be a place where my classmates and I can walk down the hallway without worrying about being sexually assaulted.” And then BoE member Jim LaPrad thanked folks for coming out and showing we cared. I am astonished that not one other BoE member thanked us for coming.
I am so relieved that we are not Steubenville. I don’t cry easily, but if I take a breath and look away from this page, I feel so much relief that the heart of this community stands on the right side of the law, on the side of our students.
My history with Macomb goes back to 1987. My late brother went to school here, as did my late sister-n-law and my husband. Macomb is the closest place to a permanent home I’ve ever had. I want this town continue to be a good place to live. But we’ve suffered so much under corrupt leadership.
As I compose this post, I attempt to read it aloud. It’s really hard. I know my readers understand.
In a recent Facebook post, I said that, after the slog of winter death day anniversaries in my family were over for the year, I intended to take a break from this blog. Then the news of the lawsuit emerged. It has been like another death day to mourn–the damage that has been inflicted is so profound, but I have good reason to hope and believe that community solidarity is more profound.
For now, I want to focus on the manuscript of my dystopian novel and other types of writing and activism. Today, marks 7,000 views to my blog! At some point, I’ll resume this blog again, but I’m taking a break for a while.
Thanks to all my readers. Thank you to all those who have reached out to tell me my blog is courageous! Thanks to everyone who has come out to support victims, students, and a safe 185.
Holly A. Stovall