Desmond Clark addresses school board on diversity training

  • Desmond Clark

    Desmond Clark

 
 
Updated 9/28/2015 8:50 PM

Former Chicago Bears tight end Desmond Clark renewed his call for diversity programming for students and staffers at Libertyville and Vernon Hills high schools Monday night by directly addressing the District 128 school board at its monthly meeting.

"We need to have a very open discussion about race relations and diversity," said Clark, a Vernon Hills resident whose son attends the local high school, which is where Monday's meeting was held.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Clark also told board members that he's been approached in recent days by students and adults who have told him about questionable incidents at both schools involving race.

"Now I have to become the spokesman ... for some of these individuals," said Clark.

Clark's comments come about a month after he and his wife, Maria, had a heated, racially charged conversation with Vernon Hills High officials at the school. The Aug. 29 argument had to do with their son's treatment by school officials, according to a police report.

Maria Clark was accused of yelling at and threatening a school employee, the report said.

Desmond Clark cursed, repeatedly used a racial epithet and yelled about discrimination, the report said.

The Clarks were arrested Sept. 11 and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Maria Clark also was charged with misdemeanor assault.

They are scheduled to appear in court Friday, Oct. 2.

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Last week, the Clarks led a protest march to the high school. In prepared remarks to the media, Desmond Clark said he'd met with District 128 officials about the issue and called for diversity training.

Clark repeated that request Monday night. Race-related issues at the two campuses need to be handled better, he said.

Afterward, Superintendent Prentiss Lea thanked Clark for attending the meeting and said it's important that a discussion about diversity move forward.

School board President Pat Groody chimed in, too, saying cultural and racial differences "make life rich."

"My hope is that a lot of good comes out of this," Groody said.

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