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ON THE SIDE OF HOPE
The Arc of Illinois represents over 180,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, right here in Illinois.
We take exception to your recent story “Road to Court” [Dusty Rhodes, June 9] regarding the Hope School and access to its center through the gate at Hazel Lane.
I have witnessed discrimination against individuals with disabilities in housing, employment, and community access many times in Illinois. Important federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) were enacted to ensure protection of these important rights for individuals with disabilities.
In my opinion, the Hope School is not trying to pick a fight with neighbors but is asserting its responsibility to the people they serve by asking the court to decide whether or not the gate on Hazel Lane that blocks access to the facility is lawful. I commend the advocacy of the leadership at the Hope School and wish that other community leaders had stepped in so that intervention by the court was not necessary.
Arc of Illinois
DO YOUR JOB OR FIND ANOTHER
After reading your article “Right of refusal” [Joan Villa, June 16], I have to respond to Peggy Pace and the “gnawing in my stomach” she feels when faced with the possibility of having to fulfill a prescription for Plan B.
If I have made an informed decision for myself and decide to use Plan B, that is my decision. I am not asking her how she feels about it. I am asking her to fill the prescription, which is her job. My choice to use Plan B has absolutely nothing to do with her and her beliefs — again, it is my choice, by law. If it becomes personal to her, maybe she needs to find a new line of work.
Where would she ever get the notion she has the right to invoke her opinion and moral beliefs on someone? Are her beliefs better than mine? Are they right and mine are wrong? Why would she think, in the first place, she can dispense her opinion instead of dispensing medication? Her job is to provide medicine prescribed by a physician — end of story!
I do not believe there is any pharmacology college that taught her she can force her beliefs on someone just because of the work she chose to do. The job requires fulfilling legal prescriptions.
My question to Ms. Pace is this: Do you also withhold filling a prescription of antibiotics for someone after an abortion?
ISBE OPERATIONS MISREPRESENTED
The article “Fade to black” [Bud Bartlett, June 16] forces me to respond. The operations at the Illinois State Board of Education’s multimedia-production division were misrepresented in so many ways that it is difficult to quantify them. The article was generated from interviews with only three persons, and all were either long since retired, had no knowledge of ISBE operations, or had a serious bias. The author himself has not been affiliated for a decade with the state board or with the very department he wrote about. To my knowledge, no one in the working division was asked for input or consulted for accuracy before the article was rushed to publication.
It is true that the state is in fiscal difficulty. However, the closing of the multimedia division will actually cost the taxpayer more. First, the ISBE-quoted spokesperson did not mention management’s failure to cancel the floor-space-rental agreement for the next fiscal year. They will be paying considerable rent for a zero-productivity area. Second, there is no cost savings in employee salaries. One person has been transferred from one division to another. One, who was federally funded, has transferred to a state-funded division and this balances out the salary gained by my retirement. Third, the ISBE is now forced to budget for outsourcing its media needs.
The article describes the ISBE’s inability to convert its 16mm film library. These films were never a serious part of the general media free-loan library. ISBE provided shelf space for film donated by separate state agencies that were unable to distribute them. No attempt was ever made to convert that outdated material.
The article’s author states, “Until the ’90s, TV programs seemed to promise major improvements . . . it isn’t clear whether the Internet is more compelling or better.” This leaves the impression that Internet delivery of media may not be a valuable tool. ISBE recognized the value early on and was active in the online delivery of video media — both classroom instruction and teacher development and training. Much of that streamed media is captioned for the hearing-impaired and the English-language-deficient.
I am also distressed by the misleading section concerning the lack of DVD production. It is ironic that the article was shown to me as I was preparing to deliver 3,000 interactive multilingual captioned DVDs on three different subjects to our clients. One DVD concerned identification and assistance to homeless children in Illinois, a second involved transition training for special education students entering adulthood, and a third concerned K-8 students for whom English is a second language. These were hardly our first DVD products. ISBE-produced DVDs are the source of two recent major national media awards: one bronze and one silver Telly. The achievement was noted and applauded by the state board in open session during its May meeting.
I was disappointed that the author included an antiquated picture to support the article. He should have requested something more recent — one showing modern cameras with modern sets delivering modern training materials on a modern live interactive Webcast.
To the many people who have called me over the last few days to offer everything from sympathy to ridicule, please understand that I was unaware of the article’s publication until after the ink was already dry. It should have been titled “ISBE Media: A Retrospective.”
J. Mitch Hopper
AN APPEAL TO PBS VIEWERS
This is an urgent message to everyone who has ever enjoyed the treasures of public television, whether you have grown up to Sesame Street or are now watching your children do the same. It is a message to those who, along with PBS, discovered Riverdance, André Rieu, the Three Tenors, and the documentaries of Ken Burns. This is a message to our volunteers and to our members of viewer-supported public television station WSEC/PBS Springfield. It is a message to all of you who make your public-television station possible: There is a major effort afoot in Congress to eliminate public television.
There have been similar efforts in the past, and they have failed. This time, the efforts have come to a crucial point in the legislative process without public notice, and the legislation is draconian in its impact.
If you wish to continue to have access to the current range of educational, artistic, cultural, informative, and enjoyable programming that is carried by WSEC, share your desire with your representatives. Phone calls make a difference, as do letters.
Dr. Jerold Gruebel
President and CEO
NOT EVERYONE IS TO BLAME
I’m writing in regard to a letter [by John D. Kolaz] in the June 16 edition of Illinois Times. [Chelsey Shores’ death] was very tragic, but not everyone is to blame. I attended Auburn High School a few years ago, and there were some of the same problems then, as there will be throughout everyone’s high-school years. In fact my younger brother was in Chelsey’s class, and I heard her speech at the graduation.
The ones to blame are the mean-spirited kids whom she herself referred to in her speech. Without naming names, those kids know who they are. I just hope the kids that do affect the lives of others by tormenting them can learn from this awful experience and maybe for once put themselves in the shoes of the ones being bullied. Perhaps that’s the last thing that Chelsey can give any of us; perhaps this is the way in which she was able to persevere.
Zhavier J. Harris wrote the poem “Let’s Grow Together in Unity” as a fourth-grader at Calvary Academy. The wrong grade and school were named in a recent edition [“Winning, together,” June 16]. Illinois Times regrets the error.