Rally Supports Jefferson Principal

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

Time after time Thursday night, students...
"If I had a problem with anything, anything at all, it could have been something that had nothing to do with school and I could go in and I could talk to him. That's the type of person that we need to be running our schools," says Jefferson Junior Sarah Chapman.
...parents... "It's their future, it's their education, it's their life. My son sits there, he's made a turn-around because of Dr. Jackson," says Jefferson parent Carnell Alexander.
...and state and local leaders...
"He's a good man, he's a great principal," says Illinois State Representative Chuck Jefferson.
Rockford Alderman Victory Bell adds, "Dr. Jackson has got to be back doing what he loves to do, what he's qualified to do."
...raised their voices in support of Jefferson High's suspended principal Kenneth Jackson.
Rockford school board member Mike Williams, and Dr. Jackson kept quiet Thursday night, though Jackson did send his thanks to everyone who came out.
Rockford's acting superintendent Linda Hernandez placed Jackson on administrative leave Tuesday pending an investigation into grades he changed from fail to pass last year, because he says parents had not been told their kids were failing.
Some students and parents called the move unfair to kids who earned higher grades and many teachers said it lowered staff morale and student standards. But supporters feel teachers need to be held accountable.
"If you're going to give an F, then we have to reach out to these parents," says Rockford parent Jay Ware.
Rally organizers say they have two goals: To get Jackson reinstated and to prevent a repeat of the chaos that occured at Jefferson High School Wednesday. A series of fights broke, following a peaceful demonstration in support of Jackson.
"We need to make sure that there are some uniform, clearly articulated protocals in place for emergency situations," says K. Edward Copeland, pastor of New Zion Baptist Church, where the rally took place.
In the end, supporters left the demonstration hoping for new plans and major changes.
One parent called out, "Dr. Jackson need to be superintendent of the school board."
Leaders from various sectors of our communty gathered behind closed doors at thursday night's meeting. They say they were following up on ways to ensure their goals are met, adding this is an issue that effects all races and socio-economic classes.
Rally organizers also handed out letters for anyone present to send to state and local school leaders. The letters state that Dr. Jackson made a difference to the kids of Jefferson High School and ask for him to be reinstated. They encourage anyone who couldn't make it to write and call school officials as well.


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  • by John Tac Location: Rockford on Sep 14, 2007 at 01:03 PM
    Why is the Acting Superintendent Ms. Linda Hernandez. Trying to over rule what the former Superintendent ok. If she is going to go thru with the set up that Mr Thomas left. Why then is she going against this one. For one is it because she lost the Mayor race's. Or is it because of hsi race. Look at the people that are backing up DR Jackson. Now you be the Judge. I have move to say just not enough time to talk... You can E-mail me or call me . I love to talk 815-299-4338. Peace-Out
  • by Dan Location: home on Sep 14, 2007 at 12:29 PM
    Where is the staff support on this matter? Is the school being run by the students because of the way this school is being administered?
  • by Chris on Sep 14, 2007 at 08:42 AM
    It is uncharacteristic (fortunately) and unacceptable that a Principal should take it upon himself to change the grades of large numbers of students on a whim. It undermines the efforts of the teachers in the building and sends a negative message to those students and their parents. The "real world" doesn't change your "grade" because you didn't inform your parents concerning your poor performance. We need a definition of "parent contact" that is appropriate in a community where many parents do not have active phone lines or are otherwise not available during the day. The current system involving ground mail is efficient and successful (who doesn't get their mail on a regular basis?). The bottom line is that parents need to parent and leave the teaching to those trained for that job. Administration should support the well-being and educational interests of the students they serve, and you cannot do so by continuing to hand out approval of inappropriate behavior.
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