click to enlarge Letters to the editor 5-23-24
Faith Coalition for the Common Good and the Springfield Education Association held a prayer walk and focus group, “Community Safety: Together We Can Transform Our Community,” on Saturday, May 11, at a church near Southeast High School.

I was shocked to read about students at our local schools attacking and threatening teachers (“Not ready to learn,” May 16).

While students in my day, 70 years ago, sometimes got into fights between themselves, never was any teacher physically attacked. Respect for authority in today’s world seems to have taken one large tumble. It needs to be taught to children at an early age by parents, grandparents and caretakers alike and continued throughout their development years toward eventual adulthood.
Dick McLane

Making preconceived assumptions about teachers and their relationships based on the color of their skin is asinine. School board member Erica Austin said, “I don’t think Grant has all the tools needed to understand and work with those kind of kids.” What kind of kids is she referring to?

I walk into my classroom every day not even seeing the brown or Black students that fill my classroom. They are children. I have great relationships with them. They come to me excited to tell me about the things going on in their lives. But I guess since I’m white, I don’t understand “those kind of kids”?

The board is making false statements and not doing enough about the 5-8% of our student body that needs alternative placement and alternative education to help give them the life skills to deal with trauma and the chance for the rest of the school population to learn in a safe, healthy environment.

How many of these board members have been teachers? Have they had to come to work and console a student because they had cigarette burns all over them, or their mom or dad just got shot and died, they were walking home from a friend’s house and had to run and crawl on the ground from a drive-by shooting, their parents just split up, their sibling has cancer, they made a bad social media decision and exposed themselves, etc.?

Those kinds of kids are what we deal with on a daily basis. And we, as educators, hold them near and dear to our hearts and help them through those traumas they bring with them each and every day. All we want from the district is to be able to provide a safe haven for those students without the other unwanted, unsafe behavior to add to their already trauma-filled lives. And “those kids” aren’t just Black and brown, they’re white, too. Is that so much to ask – for a safe place for all to learn?

I absolutely love my job. Yes, it can be overwhelming at times, but I know I can deal with and understand “those kids.” They are our future, and they all need us now. 
Kiersten Lynch

It makes no sense to close the prison and build one in a new location, to the tune of $93 million dollars (“Future of Logan Correctional Center uncertain,” May 9). Relocating to the northern part of the state also makes no sense, as over half of the prison population comes from downstate. It only serves to further disconnect the prisoners from the community, which requires additional funding for "re-entry" services.

Perhaps the reason the college in Lincoln closed is because more young people are entering the prison system than are enrolling in college. The college should reopen in collaboration with the prison to benefit the prisoners, the public and the economy.
Kendra Barlow-Johnson
Via illinoistimes.com

My sincere thanks to all who came out May 10 for Joel Styzens and Resonance (“Relax your ears,” May 2). It was an amazing evening and those involved were incredibly generous in so many ways. Included in that gratitude but not acknowledged from the stage are the following folks, who made the concert possible: Central Baptist Church; NPR Illinois, Vanessa Ferguson; Illinois Times, Karen Witter; Paula Romanaux and Ana Hopkins; Doug Kamholz and Sheila Walk; Prairie Archives; Simply Fair; Marsha Armstrong and Gary Styzens; Galen Brothers-Furry; Deborah Brothers and John Paul Jaramillo; and Wild Columbine.

I could list 100 more names – all who bought a ticket and those who purchased tickets so others could go; the miracle of the trains (they seemed to stop running during the two-hour program); and the beauty of a standing ovation for Joel and his amazing music, which made us all cry. Thanks to everyone!
William Furry

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