'Our children deserve better': Hundreds gather in suburbs to call for return to in-person learning

Hundreds of people gathered in Naperville Monday, with some saying e-learning is taking a toll on students mental health, impacting high school athletes ability to get scholarships for college, and some just want the choice of whether to send their kids back to in-person learning.

“We deserve better, our children deserve better,” said parent Catherine Kingsbury.

In a sea of parents and students of all ages, speakers called on families to reach out to administrators and share what is happening as students learn from home.

“Parents are seeing their children crumble before their eyes. Structure and accountability have been thrown out the window,” said parent Kelly Gillenwater.

“You can't learn leadership, you can't learn time management, you can't learn motivation, you can't learn discipline just by sitting in front of a screen,” said licensed clinical social worker Adam Russo.

The group was also calling on elected officials to step in and help.

“The ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ mentality from Governor Pritzker, Dr. Ezike and staff has worn out their effectiveness,” Gillenwater said.

“We effectively broke the kids. Now they're banging on the school doors to get in, let them in, change the game plan. Change the strategy,” said athletic advocate Michael Bertschinger.

Advocates for student athletes are sending a reminder that it is not too late to get students back on the field.

“We know our sports, so leave it up to us, the athletes, the parents to determine how risky are sports really are,” said student Ella Woltman.