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Proviso Probe

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nyberg comments on Wylmarie Sykes letter to Proviso Herald

Dr. Wylmarie N. Sykes, Chairman, Operation Safe Child, sent the following letter to the Proviso Herald.

I've added some commentary.
This community is suffering from a failure to take control. We are suffering from a failure to take control of the behavior of our young people.

Do successful communities aspire to control their young people? And is it young people that are screwing-up our schools? Or adults who are considered respected members of the community?
A few days ago, I drove into a gas station at First Avenue and Madison Street. Many students were coming out of Proviso East High School . School personnel were standing on the northeast corner keeping order as the students streamed past them. On the south east corner, where we were getting gas, I saw two policemen apprehending someone. Then we pulled out of the gas station and turned onto Madison going west. At Second Avenue and Madison, we almost ran into many Proviso East students running and fighting in the street. Approximately 75 students were spread out between Second and Third Avenues, fighting, congregating, and blocking Madison Street so that cars could not pass in either direction.

Sykes runs an organization supposedly focused on children, right? Is she concerned about the welfare of the students involved in the fight? Or is she more concerned about whether vehicle owners can drive on Madison?
This is outrageous and intolerable. The students appeared to be out of control. They did not seem to have either the intelligence or the values to step away from violence.

Stepping away from violence is often easier to preach than to do. Do you think Proviso East students would choose to attend a violent school if they had a choice in the matter?
Something must be done.

Let me guess, Dr. Sykes thinks giving her organization more money would help.
The school officials were out on school property keeping order. The police were out and present but were busy apprehending other criminals.

Everyone apprehended by the police is a criminal? "Criminal" is the word Sykes uses to describe the young people on the scene?
The schools and the police cannot do everything. The community and the parents have to take control and responsibility for the behavior of the young people of our community.

And having bougie Blacks scold the hoi polloi has been so effective at getting people to treat each other with more respect in Proviso.
Operation Safe Child attempts to teach Maywood students how to be safe, to use good character habits, and to have good attitudes about being law abiding citizens. But, we are only able to work with 700 fourth and fifth grade students. That is only a drop in the bucket of what is needed. This program is very effective, but it needs to be expanded.

Yeah, she wants our money.
But in the meantime, the community and the parents have to take control and responsibility for the behavior of the young people of our community. I suggest that parents be fined for the misbehavior of their children. When older students are picked up on the streets for fighting and other misbehavior, the parents should be fined. When younger students are caught fighting or misbehaving in school, again, the parents should be fined.

Does Sykes know that the police do write tickets for minors that break the law and the parents (guardians) do have to pay? If the self-styled leaders of the community don't know how basic law enforcement works....
Going further, we would not have such low performances in our schools if our students were all doing their homework. If parents properly supervised their children’s homework, achievement scores would rise.

Aren't the local elites responsible for electing screw-ups to the school boards? Aren't the local elites responsible for putting incompetent cronies into education administration? No, the teachers and local elites blame the students and parents.

If Proviso Township just had the students and parents that River Forest has, all the incompetent cronies could still get jobs at the schools and the parents would make sure the students were educated. And no one would realize that the schools are run by a bunch of screw-ups. And the local Black elites could still be paying themselves the big salaries and nobody would complain. Because the students would be getting good test scores... and more importantly, not obstructing Dr. Sykes' car.
Therefore, if a student does not bring his homework to school, the parents should be fined a few dollars.

How about we fine every person suckling at the government tit--including at grant funded non-profits--making over $45,000/year until we have competent governance of our schools?
If this were done consistently from Kindergarten to Twelfth Grade, positive changes would soon occur.

I'll bet fining the people with power would produce results faster than trying to collect $5 from single parents working two jobs without benefits.
With more parents supervising and controlling their children, we would soon have some of the best schools in the area.

If Dr. Sykes thinks that the only problem facing the schools is unruly students and disengaged parents she hasn't got a clue.
More students would go on to college, thereby, earning more money. These higher wage earning graduates are our community’s greatest promise for economic development. Best of all, student behavior would improve.

Doesn't it seem like Sykes could live with Proviso students getting an unsatisfactory education as long as misbehaving students didn't offend or inconvenience her?
Taking charge and encouraging parents to provide more control and supervision of their children is a win-win situation for all concerned.

Fixing the schools would be a win-win for the community too. But it doesn't happen.

Anybody know how many of Sykes friends and relatives have been on payroll at the high schools over the years? Wasn't there a Rev. Sykes on the school board in the 1990s?

[UPDATE: It was Dr. Wylmarie Sykes who was on the school board, not Rev. Sykes, her husband. And Dr. Sykes says Operation Safe Child does not get any grant funding.]

[UPDATE2: This is Wylmarie Sykes' response:
Dear Mr. Nyberg:

This letter is in response to your comments in the Proviso Probe.

Like you and many of your readers, I, too, am disappointed in many things that are happening in our high schools. However, one must pick and choose which battles to fight. My particular concern is for the students who are not receiving the discipline that they will need in order to graduate, to go on to college, and to become laws abiding, productive citizens. Students who do not have the wits to stay out of mob actions risk arrest and jail records that may hinder them from getting good jobs.

The students engaged in the mob action two blocks away from their school would be much better off if they displayed some common sense ethics. Common sense ethics for our young people is something that we all should be working toward.

As I said before, Operation Safe Child is working toward common sense ethics for our community’s children. Many community volunteers, as well as the Maywood Police Department, the School District #89 Administration, and the Maywood Village Administration are cooperating in this effort. However, contrary to what you implied, we are not receiving any grants for this work.

We do have a sincere concern to provide 700 fourth and fifth Grade students with information and activities that teach them good character habits. We also teach the students to think critically about illegal drugs, to avoid gangs, to avoid abduction, to know the consequences of crime and to value being law abiding, productive citizens.

But, we know that what is done in school needs to be reinforced at home. Parents who will not discipline and control their children’s behavior are doing irreparable harm to their children. As a matter of fact, undisciplined children are often doomed to a life of poverty. Is that what you want? These undisciplined young people will not go on and finish college. These undisciplined young people will not become, as you said, “Bougie Black,” or the “Black elite.” Is that what you want? However, we know from U.S. Census data that people that go on and graduate from college bring, on average, $2,100,000.00 back into the community. This is tax-lowering economic development. This and the welfare of the students is what we all should be working for. Let us not waste time and resources on name-calling.

It is noticeable that you referred to River Forest parents. You said, “…the parents would make sure the students were educated.” That is all I am asking for, that this community’s parents make sure their children are well educated. Unfortunately, it takes more than asking. This community must provide structure that informs parents about what to do and how to do it, and then encourages parents to do the right things for their students. If parents were fined for their child’s misbehavior or failure to do their homework, these infractions would soon diminish and, thus, allow more time for academic development.

Is it safe to say that we all want improved Proviso schools? Then let us work together for that.

Incidentally, there was a Sykes on the School Board in the 1990’s. That was me.

Dr. Wylmarie N. Sykes, Chairman

Operation Safe Child

[End update2]

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  • Ms. Coffee says: Did you see in New York how they want to pay parents for making sure kids go to school and making sure they do homework? I also heard that in LA the parents ARE fined for student misbehaviour. These fines have greatly improved the school system. The other thing that happens in LA is if there's a fight, the kids get ARRESTED. And guess what? The judges go along with the plan. They don't let the little darlings get away with it.
    It's sad to say that parents must be forced to be parents, but in some communitites this fine system might just work!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:10 PM, September 13, 2007  

  • This was actually a funny commentary of Syke's column. I raised a brow or two.

    "Do little" Syke's has her purse open for more money from "Do nothing" Yarbrough

    By Anonymous I'm just sayin II, at 4:36 PM, September 13, 2007  

  • Carl,
    I feel your frustration, but it should be directed at the corrupt schools officials at both 89 and 209, not Dr. Sykes. To answer your question, it was Dr. Wylmarie Sykes who was on the 209 school board, not Rev. Sykes, her husband. Dr. W. Sykes is, indeed, “part of the solution” with her Operation Safe Child program. As I was a volunteer last year with this program taking programming into two D89 4th grade classrooms per week, I know first hand how she volunteered her own time and money to implement this program. Dr. Sykes recruited at least 8 other volunteers who participated likewise. As an educator (formerly with Malcolm X College), she, too, is frustrated with the recent events in our school district and currently serves on the D209 Advisory Committee. Her letter raises some challenges that need to be considered. Indeed, as “Ms. Coffee” points out, New York’s mayor is using private funds to achieve better school performance and parent involvement through cash payments. It’s a shame but it is “a sign of the times.” And, least we forget, it’s not the children’s fault, it is the adults who are allowing this degradation to occur. Today’s society dictates that we all be a part of the solution. Finally, I applaud you, Carl, for all that you have done to draw attention to the wrong-doing occurring in our schools. Finally, those interested in being part of the solution might take time out to attend the next D209 Advisory Committee meeting on 9/17/07, PMSA (Proviso Math & Science Academy), Forest Park, at 6:30 pm. This particular meeting is "open to the public.” Of course, parents and community (taxpayers) are encouraged to attend the monthly school meetings at both districts. We must hold the elected officials accountable for keeping their campaign promises. Barbara Cole

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:36 PM, September 13, 2007  

  • I believe that Ms. Sykes' husband is a connected minister. Would it surprise anyone that he might have shoe-horned his wife into the position that she is in now? The incestuous, you-stroke-mine-and-I'll-stroke-yours relationships run deep among local ministers, politicians, school board members and administrators, and community leaders.

    I find it sadly ludicrous that Operation Safe Child is partnered with the Maywood Police Department which, as most locals know, couldn't catch a cold in the middle of flu season. The degree of incompetence in that department is monumental. Additionally, dirty, on-the-take cops abound while felony arrest rates are abysmal. To put these "role models" in front of kids to lecture them about appropriate behavior is a sadistic, twisted irony.

    Ms. Sykes claims that her program is effective. I have perused her website and attempted to gather objective information as to just how effective it is, but, and this should surprise no one, without success. Anecdotal support is flimsy support at best and pales in comparison to hard data. Further, as far as I can see, there has been no statistical analysis published that shows that any improvement in children's behavior is due primarily to the effects of Operation Safe Child.

    Operation Safe Child is, in my view, just another Black rip-off of Blacks. It's just another ineffective community program, launched with much fanfare and sustained with voluminous hot air, that benefits its administrators much more than it benefits any child. It wouldn't surprise me that, at the end of the school day, the administrators of Operation Safe Child drive off in their late-model Escalades and Mercedes while the children it serves walk to their dilapidated homes in blighted areas. And the pimpin' goes on and on.

    By Anonymous And the Pimpin' Goes On and On, at 8:02 PM, September 13, 2007  

  • I knew that I would find something funny when I read the comments regarding my letter to the Proviso Probe. I found the comments by Coffee and Mrs. Cole to be enlightening and informing. But as for Pimping… What was he thinking? His comments reek of jealousy. I laughed when I read that my Dodge was thought to be an Escalade or Mercedes. But, I did not laugh when he maligned the Maywood Police Department. It is ironic that he did not know that the Maywood crime rate has dropped drastically and that the report of many arrests by the MPD appears in the same issue as his slurs. Only the drug lords would be happy with remarks of his type. I am questioning. What is Pimping doing? How is he helping? What solutions does he propose? Perhaps he might like to volunteer and give his time and money toward helping the children in the schools? That would be much more helpful than making untrue viperous comments.
    Dr. Wylmarie N. Sykes, Chairman
    Operation Safe Child

    By Blogger Dr. Wylmarie N. Sykes, at 6:46 PM, September 15, 2007  

  • In regard to Dr. Wilmarie N. Sykes' response to my post on 9/17 at 8:02, yes, of course, I'm jealous and that is why I wrote it. Perhaps, you could enlighten me as to what I'm jealous about. Am I jealous about the fact that your program, alleged to be successful, hasn't seemed to publish any objective data supporting the claim? I noticed you made no mention in your retort to my post about what evidence you have to support your claim of success. Is this because it is lacking or non-existent? You did manage to provide support for the Maywood Police Department which, prima facie, as many locals believe, is composed of a band of bungling idiots with past proclivities toward criminal behaviors themselves (how many Maywood police officers have themselves been indicted, arrested, and/or prosecuted)? You didn't touch upon the unsolved crimes like, for example, that of Officer Woods. You didn't touch upon the incredibly stupid and costly lawsuits lost by the department. As is your apparent proclivity, you didn't supply one iota of evidence to support your claim that the crime rate has dropped drastically. I and others in Maywood would just love to see the data and analyze it. Would it surprise anyone if that data didn't support your contention or was somehow doctored? I think not.

    Maybe I'm jealous because I don't have a connected husband or wife who opens doors for me to start programs in Proviso school districts. Doors through which I can put myself in a position to obtain an administrator's job and commensurate pay. By the way, if you really want to make me jealous, tell me how much is your pay? What's your piece of the pie?

    By Anonymous And the Pimpin' Goes On and On, at 2:10 PM, September 16, 2007  

  • To: And the pimpin goes on and on: I think I'm in love with you!

    By Anonymous I'm just saying II, at 8:53 PM, September 16, 2007  

  • I thank God for giving me the opportunity to work with Operation Safe Child. God set me up for this position by allowing someone to attempt to kidnap me two years ago on September 5, 2005. As the Maywood Police worked on this case, I had an opportunity to see that, contrary to negative rumors, the Maywood Police really care about protecting the citizens of this community. Sergeant Robinson, Officer Branch, and many others worked to gather evidence regarding this case. During the process, I reviewed an inordinate number of mug shots of many young men from Maywood who had run afoul of the law. It seemed something should be done about this situation. When the lawbreakers were compared with the police, I decided that other young people would be better off by gaining the knowledge of and following the example of the police.
    I approached Maywood Mayor, Henderson Yarbrough with the idea. He gave me encouragement and support. State Representative Karen Yarbrough also gave much encouragement, support, and advice. The same was true for School District #89 School Board President, Grady Rivers, Jr. and former Superintendent, Cynthia Broughton. The program started with approximately 330 students. This year we will serve 700 fourth and fifth grade students. None of the volunteers, myself included, are receiving any salary.
    Several evaluations have been done by principals, teachers, and students. To date, the documents pertaining to Operation Safe Child number in the thousands. But, we are still collecting more. If anyone wants to assist in the tabulation and analysis of this data, they are welcome. All the results thus far indicate that we are meeting our goals to help keep children safe, to teach good character habits, to help children think critically about crime and to help prevent crime. More importantly, I believe three young Maywood girls have already been saved from abduction attempts because they followed the instructions they received in Operation Safe Child.
    Maywood Police Chief Elvia Williams was one of those who were key in the initiation of Operation Safe Child. If anyone wants to know how much Maywood’s crime rate has gone down, they should speak with Chief Williams. She or one of her delegates can give accurate numbers regarding crime rate a well as numbers of arrests in various categories.
    Operation Safe Child is God’s program. No one has to be jealous because I am sure that He will give a piece of this pie to anyone who sincerely wants to help.
    Dr. Wylmarie N. Sykes, Chairman
    Operation Safe Child

    P.S. We seemed to have strayed from the original topic. That is, as a part of all this, we must insist that parents discipline their children and see that their children do their school work.

    By Blogger Dr. Wylmarie N. Sykes, at 11:11 PM, September 16, 2007  

  • Throughout history, people have alleged that the Lord was their guide in all sorts of endeavors --- endeavors which, often, just happened to line their pockets with money.

    You write that you are not getting paid and that Operation Safe Child evolved out of your kidnapping and subsequent attempts to protect our children from crime.

    Just know that it all does come out in the wash and that you and your program are being scrutinized extremely closely. If your motivation is pure, that will be revealed. If your motivations are greed and self-aggrandizement, believe me, in today's extremely questioning political and budgetary climate, that dirt will surface for all to see.

    By Anonymous And the Pimpin' Goes On andOn, at 5:49 AM, September 17, 2007  

  • If even one child is saved from victimization, then the program is worth it. I am willing to give Dr. Sykes the benefit of the doubt that her sole motivation in starting Operation Safe Child was to protect our children. We shouldn't paint all developers of such programs and the programs that they develop with the same broad brush of suspicion. Let's see what Dr. Sykes does, how the children profit, and whether there is any under-handedness --- hopefully, there hasn't been and there won't be.

    By Anonymous Steven, at 7:37 AM, September 17, 2007  

  • Correction: September Second, not the Fifth, 2005 was the date of the attempted kidnapping.
    Wylmarie Sykes

    By Blogger Dr. Wylmarie N. Sykes, at 11:14 AM, September 17, 2007  

  • Controling or not controlling student behavior is a choice between $2,000,000.00 and poverty. This affects the students, the parents, and every member of the community.

    By Blogger Dr. Wylmarie N. Sykes, at 11:18 AM, September 17, 2007  

  • Isn't it odd that someone preaching 'Truth', like Wylmarie Sykes, would hide behind a veil of anonimity known as the Proviso Truth blog???

    Tell the truth Wylmarie!!!

    By Anonymous Sykes outed, at 7:56 PM, September 20, 2007  

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