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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