'It's real-- teachers & administrators are scared to death of this current regime.' District 150 parent voices out

By WEEK Reporter

February 18, 2014 Updated Feb 19, 2014 at 2:51 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Tuesday night the Peoria City Council is hosting a special policy meeting at Peoria's Contemporary Arts Center. The council is on the 4th floor, but on ground level is the newly organized group, CHANGE150.

The all inclusive group is rallying to make their concerns known over District 150's leadership and what they say are "questionable disciplinary practices." The group was formed after the testing investigation at Charter Oak Primary School.

One parent rallying tonight with CHANGE150 says the district is on a downward spiral.

"Unfortunately this is real. it's not hyperbole, and it's not made up. Teachers and administrators are scared to death of this current regime," said District 150 parent and President of CHANGE150 Jim Powell.

Powell is the father of two students with special needs at District 150.

"My fourth grade son came home the day his teacher was removed and said, 'Dad, everyone is sad that our teacher left. several kids in our class were crying.' My son isn't happy," said Powell.

Powell says parents have tried countless times to have conversation with district leaders--to no avail. His son told him he hates going to school. Powell and his wife Stephanie Powell are considering moving his two boys to private schools.

"As a parent it's heartbreaking because we've made a conscious decision to live and to be part of the solution at 150 and to feel--as a parent vested in 150--that we are not being respected or listened to and to have our children upset about going to school is very disheartening," said Powell. "I believe that some of the board members and administrators are sincere, but I believe they are going about this completely the wrong way."

He claims district orders are forced into acceptance.

"If you give them any push back--from the words of the superintendent--that means we don't want the district to succeed," said Powell.

Powell says success starts with communication.

"We have to have a leader that's able to bring parents across the district as well as community leaders about the health of our district," said Powell.

At Tuesday night's rally he hopes for the start of "actual" change.

"We hope o put the appropriate pressure on the council and the school board to make drastic changes in how they lead," said Powell. "Potentially, that means some people need to step aside and let that district move forward without them."

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