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posted: 2/3/2014 5:00 AM

'The children need to be heard' in D57

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At the (District 57) school board meeting, it was quite clear that at least 90 percent of teachers and staff were in attendance. There were significant numbers of parents, community members young and old, current students, future parents and past students. It was an amazing show of support!

My daughter and I both wrote speeches to support the dedicated teachers in our district. I have a senior and a freshman at Prospect High School and an 8th grader at Lincoln Middle School.

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My speech was a heartfelt tribute to the teachers that changed my family's life. My daughter, Rachael, was diagnosed with autism at 15 months. She came through different programs in the district and today is a true miracle. We were told early on by doctors, specialists and therapists she would never make it in a classroom environment. What would become of my daughter?

I had her screened by District 57 and they accepted her without hesitation. She entered a special education preschool the day after she turned 3. The teachers, therapists, staff and support assistants never once doubted her future or gave up. The board cut me off during my speech.

Next my daughter, Gabby, wrote a paper to support the teachers that have helped her sister and herself. She has also been in speech since she was 2, and has continued all though eight years at District 57. She also was cut off.

A community member was so appalled he stepped forward and said this child can have my time! My daughter was cut off again and not able to finish.

It was truly disgraceful. The very children the board claimed to be protecting and advocating for aren't even respected! The children need to be heard.

Denise Mortellaro

Mount Prospect

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