During my time in high school a classmate of mine and I were invited to contribute as student columnist/journalist for the Kankakee Daily Journal. At the time Kankakee School District teachers and administrators were hashing-out contract negotiations that were eventually resolved after a nearly week-long strike.
Republished from the Kankakee Daily Journal January 21, 2010
Shanice Bradley-Bey and Chris J. Taylor
Students at Kankakee High School took full advantage of the first day of the teachers’ strike in Kankakee School District 111.
Some students chose to spend this time sleeping late and catching up on homework. Others spent most of their first day off in front of the television with a hearty bowl of cereal. While catching up on familiar childhood cartoons and sitcoms, students chose to take it easy.
The day off was nothing more than fun — but not in the sun.
On the second day, students started turning to social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook to express their activities and feelings.
Facebook became Kankakee High School online.
And what they were saying was that they wanted to go back to school due to boredom and lack of social communication. As students, we learn that most of our time to connect with others is at school. It is an even better opportunity to connect with others while learning. In order for students to stay sharp and ready to learn, students have to stay in school to keep up with the challenges of school-related subjects.
Some students have decided to support the cause and are keeping themselves busy at their teachers’ sides.
As a show of support, they went to Kankakee High School’s picket line.
Renee Brooker, a Kankakee High School senior, said she brought her teachers “hot cocoa to keep them warm” as they braced frigid winter weather. Many more delivered hot chocolate, coffee, doughnuts, fruit and some really good homemade cookies that teachers shared with students.
(We know they were “really good” because we tried them ourselves.)
Kankakee High teachers said National City Bank donated hand warmers to some schools. Other students made signs and walked the picket line.
“Every teacher deserves to get paid well, our teachers should be recognized for their hard work,” said Allinston Saulsberry, Kankakee High School senior, honor roll student and student council senior class vice president. “If the teachers do not stand for something, they will fall for anything.”
Out of sync
There is still a lot we don’t know, and many students are confused.
Some students are concerned for the well-being of the elementary-aged children, such as their little brothers and sisters, whose parents work and are not able to find reliable child care. Others worry about the kids on free and reduced-price lunches and whether they will get fed.
There are even rumors that parents and students are choosing to go to another school altogether. Rumors circulated through Facebook that Kankakee High School students had already begun to transfer to Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School.
But rumors, are just that — rumors.
We asked Dee Oliver, BBCHS associate principal, if it was true. She said, “No. None.” While no one knows how long the teachers’ strike may last, students are sure never to forget this part of their high school career.