Childers, McGrath, Owen, Lee win in District 207
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Newcomers Mary Childers and Jin Lee, incumbent Margaret McGrath, and recently appointed board member Carla Owen won election to four seats on the Maine Township High School District 207 board Tuesday.
With 107 of 109 precincts reporting, unofficial vote totals show Childers received 10,032 votes, McGrath garnered 9,590 votes, Owen received 7,633 votes and Lee received 6,723 votes to win election to the board.
Newcomer Jeffrey Spero had 6,184 votes, incumbent Eldon Burk garnered 5,939 votes, and newcomer Sean Story received 5,786 votes.
During the campaign, the school board hopefuls called for more education and training of staff, administration and students on recognizing and preventing hazing after recent scandals at Maine West High School in Des Plaines.
Senior members of the Maine West varsity boys soccer team are accused of assaulting and sodomizing underclassmen as part of team initiation rituals.
District 207 has fired two Maine West soccer coaches, hired an independent investigator to look into the hazing allegations and brought in a consulting firm to lead anti-hazing focus groups at its three schools.
Childers, a Des Plaines real estate broker and a former Des Plaines alderwoman and substitute teacher at East Maine Elementary District 63, said the district needs to have anti-hazing signage in hallways just as it has signs about drug-free zones.
McGrath, 54, a Park Ridge attorney who has served on the board since 2009, favors having more movement of staff members within the district to increase their exposure to new ideas, and not just moving up in the organization having worked at only one school.
Owen, 50, a Park Ridge attorney appointed to the school board in December, said the hazing issue is the first major crisis she has had to deal with, and it fortified her desire to serve on the board.
Lee, 50, of Des Plaines, is director of government relations and business planning and development for the Albany Park Community Center in Chicago. He said the district needs to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on hazing, require mandatory anti-hazing programs for the entire school community, and increase focus on preventive education through workshops and better communication.
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