Jefferson Principal Suspended

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

Principal Kenneth Jackson won't be seen in the halls of Jefferson High School for a while. Rockford's interim superintendent Linda Hernandez suspended him Tuesday. Jackson won't be back until an investigation is complete into the hundreds of grades he changed from F's to D's last year. He says he did so because the students' parents had not been told their kids were failing and he wanted to encourage parental involvement.
Former Superintendent Dennis Thompson supported the decision last year. Hernandez declined to comment because the suspension is a private personnel issue.
"I have kids in this district and I would be upset if a teacher didn't call me about the kids' behavior or grades and just decided to fail them. I just think it's unfair that they're going after him. It's like he's getting tried twice after he was found not guilty the first time," says Jefferson football coach Anthony Grier.
Dr. Jackson does not want to speak on camera until the investigation is over. However, he told me he believes the truth will come out. For right now he's worried about the students. He says they need his presence.
"Some of the kids that were really bad and got suspended all the time, one time that they go into his room and come out, they're new. They actually want to do better," says Jefferson Senior Ericka Mastache.
"I wanted my son there. I was happy to get him there and now that Dr. Jackson possibly won't be there, i'm really concerned about his future," says Jefferson parent Lisa Jackson.
But others agree with the suspension, saying the policy is unfair to students who earn passing grades.
"You have to do work to do work to earn a grade. That's what school's about. Don't come to school if you ain't going to do work," says Jefferson Junior Shawn Allen.
Many teachers were upset with the policy last year. Grades were changed back to failing if teachers could prove they had contacted parents. In the end, teachers report 603 grades remained changed to passing. Retired Principal Dave Rossi, who used to head Eisenhower Middle School, will be acting principal in Jackson's absence.

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  • by Linda Miller Location: Jefferson High School on Sep 12, 2007 at 07:50 PM
    I think he should have been suspended last year and still feel that way,we should have rule's the same for every school in Dist.205.Why should he be able to do this and get away with it?We don't see other school's doing this nonsense,Why did Thompson let him get away with it???
  • by jenny Location: rockford on Sep 12, 2007 at 06:24 PM
    The main reason we have a high drop out rate is because no one cares.If we had more people like Dr.Jackson that cares about the kids failing grades and wanting to defuse the problem by making sure the parents & teacher have some kind of relationship.Like for an example;I can't do nothing but respect the fact that my child teacher calls and tells me that my child is failing in her class before hand, that way me & teacher can find out whats going on.Maybe my child needs extra help in that subject.That way me & the teacher can find ways to get that extra help so that the child grades can go up.Why the superintendent can't see thats all the principal was trying to do,Was to try to get a relationship between parents and teachers,& also if your grades not that good you would feel pretty bad about yourself so their for u give up and guess what you drop out.Does the superintendent wants that?
  • by John Location: Rockford on Sep 12, 2007 at 05:51 PM
    Dear Nicole & Mike, It does not motivate kids to do better in school to cheat and give grades so they won't fail. It appears to me the principal wasn"t doing his job. It doesn't take much to lie about grades so your resume looks good. The riot that was at Jefferson shows the maturity of the students who preferred to cheat. Where is our school board do the have their heads in the sand.Grades are given to show the progress of the student. The parents apparently aren't concerned either. The ones who were interviewed on TV show supporting the pricipal have a definite problem. They can't be to concerned that their child did not earn a passing grade. If they want that don't send them to school at all and just give them a diploma for doing nothing. I'm sure not learning anything will ensure a good job!!!
  • by Elaine Location: Machesney Park on Sep 12, 2007 at 04:24 PM
    "He says he did so because the students' parents had not been told their kids were failing and he wanted to encourage parental involvement. " Maybe there should be a different approach to parent involvement. Changing grades of a student who EARNS a failing grade only teaches our children that they can do whatever they want without consequences.
  • by Derrik Location: florida on Sep 12, 2007 at 03:37 PM
    I think that it's fair for jackson to be suspended because I failed classes last year, and now im working on improving my grades taking some freshman classes to be a junior. While im doing this work other kidds that slack off are just doing what they did last year nothing, and why? because they know jackson would do the same thing he did last year, passing kidds that failed. He said it's for the parents to be more involved, why would they get involved when they would just count on jackson to pass them like last year. I doubt that grades are going to change because how are they going to prove that they contacted parents, some students probably dont even have a house phone or cell phone. If they did I bet the parents knew jackson was doing this, so they refused to pick up.
  • by sarah Location: jefferson high school student on Sep 12, 2007 at 01:10 PM
    This is really boogus because if it weren't for Dr.Jackson there would be at least 10 fights a day.He is the back bone to our school if it weren't for him caring about the students as much as he does our school would be closed for good.He has never done anything wrong to anybody.He cares about us more than the teachers at this shoool.The teachers don't care as much about our grades and how we are doing in school as much as Dr.Jackson.If linda Hernandez wouldn't of got Dr.Jackson suspented we wouldn't of had all of them fights like we did today.She is the one who should be susupended for good.She should have never brought this issue back up we are talking about things that happened last year this is a new year thats old news.What gives her the right to bring up what had happened last year.I don't understand is she just mad or jealouse that Dr.Jackson got the job and her husband didn't.You guys don't realise how much that man has done for us to keep us in school you guys don't even know.
  • by Wendy Location: Rockford on Sep 12, 2007 at 12:42 PM
    I want to know if the teachers that did not send the progress report are being suspended. Jefferson Needs Dr. Jackson he has done GREAT job with the kids they RESPECT. This was taken care of last year! Why did Linda Hernandez open this up. I hope she understand what she did and lives with herself. OUR KIDS NEED DR JACKSON.
  • by Kathleen Kerley Location: Rockford on Sep 12, 2007 at 11:50 AM
    Mother of a junior at Jefferson High School, Thank you Linda Hernandez for once again making our schools an unsafe place for our kids. This should have been left alone. Now you deal with what you have done to our kids.
  • by ana Location: rockford on Sep 12, 2007 at 11:12 AM
    Dr. Jackson has made a positive contribution to JHS. He's just making a difference in children's life. Look what happened today, without him there: there is student lock down because there is no respect without him.
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