Hundreds gathered at the “Rally to Open Naperville Schools Now” on September 21 at Rotary Hill. Community members and multiple speakers advocated for getting kids back into the classroom and allowing athletes to return to sports, hoping Naperville school districts will listen.
“Not a word from our district to talk directly to our kids. Where’s the video telling our kids what the plan is? Where is the video telling our kids they are supported by the schools who teach them?” said one speaker, Naperville District 203 parent Catherine Kingsbury. “Everybody has a responsibility to reach out to the people in charge and make them accountable. Our children deserve more.”
“Back in April 2020, it was expected that about 17 percent of young people will experience a major mental health issue. Right now it’s projected to be 35 percent,” said another speaker, Adam Russo who is a therapist. “Prior to COVID we were seeing [anxiety and depression] it in our practice. Now 30 percent increase across the board in anxiety and depression related issues, especially with young people.”
There were roughly 15 speakers. NCTV17’s news crew covered the rally live. You can watch the full video of speakers below:
March to Naperville Central
After the public heard from the speakers, some marched to Naperville Central across the street where the District 203 school board of education meeting was taking place.
The crowd dispersed after being told they couldn’t be on school property.
Statement from District 203
Before the meeting, District 203 provided the following statement:
“Naperville 203 welcomes feedback from our community, because we believe an exemplary district is the result of a collective partnership of students, staff, parents and the community. It is our goal to return students to in-person learning as soon as it is safe to do so in coordination with state and local guidance. Naperville 203 is working through the stages of our Return to Learn 2.0 plan that outlines 4 stages to support students’ return to in-person instruction, with a plan to evaluate every 6 weeks the health and operational metrics necessary to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for all.”
After the rally, some parents chose to address the board directly and attended the meeting for public comment. During the meeting, Superintendent Dan Bridges and Board President Kristen Fitzgerald addressed some of the public’s concerns.
You can find the full story of the District 203 board meeting here.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.
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