At 2:30 PM District 209 held a press conference to announce the signing of a new contract with the teachers represented by local 571.
The contract was quite generous with four and five percent salary increases and no concessions on health care. I, along with others, asked about how the increases would be funded. Would they cause taxes to increase?
Emanuel Christopher Welch--who spent the most time at the microphone even though he claimed not to be involved in the negotiations--kept avoiding the question by saying the effect of the contract hadn't been fully analyzed and that District 209 was looking for new sources of revenue.
After the questions, Welch's godmother, the Principal of Proviso West sought me out. She asked me in an accusatory manner if I had written about the ACT scores of the students at her school.
I paused for a moment and thought about the ACT scores. As I remembered the results she presented less than half the students beat the national average. I told her this.
She responded by calling me a "racist".
I asked her if she'd be willing to repeat that in front of a witness from the media. She indicated she would.
I grabbed Frank Life, but Welch's godmother was engaged with somebody else. By the time she disengaged she refused to repeat the allegation although she wouldn't deny it either. I was annoyed. I either wanted her to take responsibility for what she said or apologize. She did neither.
So I started to raised my voice explaining that she couldn't call me a "racist". She backed away.
I looked for Seth Stern who was busy talking to Libka, so I left. I saw Welch's godmother in the hall on the bench crying. She was saying, "he was a man... yelling at me." So I decided to give her some more grief.
Some woman told me I had to leave. I asked for her name. She wasn't wearing an ID badge or anything. She refused. I didn't feel she had much right to order me out, but I was leaving anyway.
Then Angela, the D209 PR flack called me over and told me I couldn't be so rough. I told Angela that D209 staff can't call me names with impunity. We went back and forth a couple times. And then she told me I had to leave. I had been walking out when she called me over, so it seemed a little annoying to be interrupted from leaving so she could act like she was throwing me out.
Here's a hint to District 209 personnel: if you want to be treated like professionals you need to act like professionals.