Community voices support for former Loves Park Elementary Principal Lisa Clark

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 10:32 PM CDT
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MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WIFR) - For the first time in 16 years, Lisa Clark is no longer the principal at Loves Park Elementary School but not everyone is fond of this decision.

The exact reason for Clark leaving the position is unclear at this time but what is clear is the support she had from the community at Monday night’s school board meeting.

Megan Hastings was the only parent to comment at Monday night’s Harlem Consolidated School District board meeting on the reclassification of Loves Park Elementary Principal Lisa Clark.

“The kids are sad. The teachers are sad. The parents are sad,” says Hastings. “Our youngest was diagnosed with epilepsy last year. Lisa was there every step of the way.”

Hastings says the news has been tough on her and alleges her kids have been discriminated against since Clark left.

“My kids are both biracial and unfortunately they’ve had some issues because of the color of their skin, which really bothers me. We didn’t have those issues five weeks ago.”

While Hastings was the only one to speak in front of the board, Brandon Jenkins was in the back row showing support with two of his kids who both had Clark as their principal.

“I thought there’d be more people from the school coming to show their support for her,” says Jenkins.

Jenkins says it was important for him to be there for Clark, just like Clark was there for Jenkins during one of his toughest times.

“She helped me with a lot, getting custody of them and helping them through battles that they had.”

Jenkins says it didn’t feel like a school when his kids were younger: It felt more like a family.

“I’ve had kids that go to Machesney and Harlem High School and none of them schools are the family community like Loves Park was.”

“I’m asking for the board’s support in restoring that culture and making sure that the administration and the faculty of loves park have support after losing such a pillar to their community,” says Hastings.

According to a district spokesperson, after two hours of closed session the school board decided the resolution for Clark’s reclassification was no longer necessary. Clark’s contract was renewed as an Administrator in the district but not as principal of Loves Park Elementary.

23 News asked district leaders and board members for comment but they said they were unable to because it was a personnel matter.