I am a parent of a Proviso East High School student. That was not my intention. I wish I could tell you I’m proud my son attends this school, but I’m not. I wish I could report that he’s getting an adequate education, but he isn’t.

It has been exasperating to contemplate the possibility of our kids attending this poorly performing, potentially dangerous high school. At great financial hardship, we elected to enroll our daughter at ICCP in Elmhurst, and when the time came, our son went to St. Patrick’s. 

Her experience went well and she will be graduating this spring. We are so proud! St. Pat’s did not work out for him so we scrambled around and took some really nutty steps doing everything in our power to steer clear of Proviso East. Fate stepped in and we find our boy attending Proviso East High School. I have been profoundly disappointed and disturbed by the goings-on at the school. The information I gather from a 16-year-old, just stories told in passing, turn my stomach.

I have had many a conversation with people who have (or had) children. All plan to do anything to avoid Proviso East High School. All of us are familiar with the loss of good neighbors. The children feel keenly the loss of friendships that could have lasted a lifetime. Why must we suffer? We do what we must to avoid this high school and/or the cost of a private school education. Thousands of good families have left because of this single issue. Children suffer unnecessarily. The District 209 board, one after another, refuses, neglects or doesn’t care to take steps to remedy obvious problems, and there are many.

Candidates Ned Wagner, Claudia Medina and Theresa Kelly are running to change the dynamic of this board. I call them “EMTs”! They will move immediately to get this district off life support and begin at once to repair deep-seated problems. Ned Wagner and Claudia Medina campaign with passion and determination because they have children and care about every child. They have “skin in the game.” 

Theresa Kelly, the longest-serving board member, has consistently supported efforts to improve the standards, a voice in the wilderness until now. She stands with Mrs. Medina and Mr. Wagner. They believe in their children and they insist on believing in their schools! They are not going to continue to allow business as usual. They refuse to accept that the rot cannot be extracted, that corruption cannot be fought. These are adults with dignity and love, willing to throw it all on the line for their children and yours!

If we fail to support these remarkable candidates, it will be a long time before this caliber of public servant will be seen again. I deeply and profoundly trust Ned Wagner, Claudia Medina and Theresa Kelly and you should, too.

Connie Custardo