MCCOOK, Illinois - Parents pressing for Illinois to follow the lead of other states that have returned students to the classrooms held a rally in south suburban McCook Sunday.
“Why theorize when we can simply look at others who had the guts to advocate for the kids and show they can get it done?” questioned Dave Ruggles, parent.
With music and words, a call to get kids off e-learning and back to class.
“I’m a dad. I’m a concerned citizen and I’m pissed off,” said Ruggles.
These parents and students represent dozens of public schools in Chicago and the suburbs.
“To Governor Pritzker and the IHSA, we’re asking you to think about these things and make the right choice to let us go back to school and play sports,” said Jaylen Brown, Wheaton Warrenville South High School senior.
What’s driving them? Seeing the emotional toll the pandemic has had on young people.
“I know I have been able to use my time on the soccer field an escape from all the emotional stress. And I know when we get my teammates together, we all feel stronger,” said Jordan Boden, Wauconda High School student.
Jordan Boden says anxiety is very real for her age group right now as they’re stuck in doors in front of a computer screen. Clinical social worker Adam Russo agrees, saying the pandemic is causing emotional, physical and psychological harm and that we need to find a way to deal with it while continuing to live life.
“We have to get comfortable with the fact that the world inherently is an unsafe, unfair place and as much as we can try everything we can to right the wrongs in this world, we have to be prepared to deal with the uncertainty,” said Russo.
Theirs is a growing call to reopen all schools in Illinois.
“We want all schools open for in person learning and we want to return to fall sports now,” said Ruggles.
“Now it is time for the state leaders to give us, the future leaders of this great state a chance to show the things that we can do on and off the field in a safe and healthy manner (cheers),” said Caylee Dahms, Plainfield High School student.
Traditional fall sports like football have been moved to springtime. Golf, cross country, girls’ tennis and girls’ swimming and diving are allowed in Illinois. The IHSA is trying to get control back in deciding when to resume all high school sports.