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Letter to the Editor: Time For Healing

Rev. Yvette Marie Eber, pastor of Immanuel United Church of Christ in Evergreen Park, calls for a time of community healing.

Dear Editor & Evergreen Park,  

With it seeming that school will open Monday in Evergreen Park, the question is what do we fear now?  Do professionals and paraprofessionals fear going back into buildings with administrators who are angry with them?  Do they fear the human punishment of changed relationship?  Do administrators fear that classrooms discussions will cloud how they are seen?  How do parent's feel post-strike and what lingering anger is in the community?  Does the school board feel tense about the first meeting post-strike?

Now is the time for us to fight the human tendency to punish.  We have to push ourselves beyond our instinctual feelings into actions that will make us proud of community.  We need the people inside the school to deal with their feelings affectively and outside the school.  If you are angry with the union, school board, parents, administrators you need to be proactive and face it outside the buildings.  Inside the buildings all should be unified in the common goal of growing children in knowledge. 

My traditions of coping are the teachings of Jesus Christ.  What are yours?  Whatever they are, embrace them post-strike in the process of healing. 

I call for the following:

  • For the School Board to allow the staff to make up the days lost in unity with their kids.  Healing takes a community that works beyond punishment and personal feelings of retribution and does what is best for the children.  What is best for the children is to be with their own teachers with whom they will have built relationship in learning. 
  • For building administrators to meet the return of their employees return with openness for the future and not pain of the past weeks. 
  • I call for the teachers and staff of 124 to heal in healthy ways from the hurt of the strike.  To take steps to make sure the feelings of strike do not follow you into the building.
  • I call for the community of Evergreen Park to ask, what is needed now to heal.  What concrete steps can we take to hold each other to a goal of healing and educating? 

The real work begins now.  The strike could be over or it could follow us into the rest of the year and even beyond.  I truly believe that God cares about how we human beings treat each other in our daily lives.  God cares how we as a community act and heal post strike.  Let us put effort and care into doing what is right and just and then we can be proud of how we faced this challenge.  

Rev. Yvette Marie Eber, Pastor

Immanuel United Church of Christ

Evergreen Park, IL

Linda Panico October 12, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Reverend Eber: I applaud you for writing this post, as both the aunt and sister of a current board member we should also pray for the children of the board members, children of the parents who did not bring their children up to the picket lines. I hope there is no retribution directed at these kids when they return on Monday. For those children it will not be easy walking into a building where people have shouted horrible things at them and their parents. ALL the children should feel safe returning to school. Personally, I have witnessed people yell at my sister in the presence of her children. These are the people who clearly do not understand what their words and actions say to her kids, or any other children witness to it. Adults should realize that there are some conversations and situations that children should never have to participate or be a part of for any reason. I would hope that Monday is an easy transition for the teachers, BOE, and administrators, but my biggest hope and concern is all of the children of District 124 will come together in classrooms and be a community. No sides should be taken; no discussions should be had with teachers and students that would be anything less than neutral conversation. Let’s go back to being a united classroom, and school district. I'm very thankful for the BOE for their determination in getting these children back into school. Congrats to all the children returning to school on Monday!
Gloria Kamper October 12, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Thank you, Reverend Eber. You are very wise and compassionate to put your words out to this community. I also applaud you, Linda. Your words are also wise and compassionate. So many people are feeling raw because of the recent events, and there is a lot of pain to heal from on many levels. I will be praying for all the children of our great community!
Dana L. October 12, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Thats my pastor! Im so proud. Thank you pastor yvette for such a beautifully written letter.
Chris Deanne October 13, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Thank you for an eloquent call for peace. I pray that people in our community will listen and take heart.
Rev. Yvette Eber October 13, 2012 at 10:40 AM
Linda, thank you for sharing your sister's story. It truly demonstrates how taking sides can polarize us instead of draw us together. The fact that some of this happened in front of her children is even more painful. I pray your willingness to share the story demonstrates to us all the importance behind making the huge effort to heal from anger. Rev. Eber
Ep_parent October 15, 2012 at 07:31 PM
To me it is shows that you are prounion, and feel that the teachers were wronged. Nowhere in your plan are the children apart, when you make a call for peace it should include ALL members of the community including the most important part the children. The only place the children have in your plan is to be used as a tool for the staff to get back the days that the teachers walked out on them I'm deeply sadden that your call of peace did not focus on the true injured party here, the Children. While I too feel the community needs to heal, but with more attention on the children. To me it seemed that the children were the pawns in this whole event from the start. From the inability of both parties to take care of the contract in a timely matter, to the tactics the parents to "bully" the board members and the teachers turning a picket line into a party atmosphere as well as all who fueled the fire by speaking to the media without all the facts. WE as adults should be ashamed and take a moment to reflect at our actions. If we truly want to begin the healing we first need to remove the "fences" we have placed between us, the signs and the ribbons that were placed because of the strike. They stand as visual reminders of the negativity and division. We are all one community and should once again stand as one. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. ~Walt Disney

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