At the Sept. 13 Proviso School District 209 meeting, the “elephant in the room” was not mentioned by the board, but residents in attendance did.
The school board meeting went along as scheduled with all board members in attendance. The alleged conflict that took place between school board members’ Theresa Kelly and Kevin McDermott at an Aug. 9 school board meeting was only mentioned during the public comment portion of the board meeting. McDermott has since been charged with battery and assault by the Forest Park Police Department as a result of an altercation that turned physical after the August meeting.
Of the three people who commented on the issue, all said there should be some sort of reprimand by the board regarding McDermott’s alleged actions or that he should resign. McDermott, 62, has a court date scheduled for Sept. 20.
Della Patterson of Maywood told the board it was hypocritical of them to reprimand students for getting into fights at school and not hold themselves to the same standard.
“[Theresa Kelly is] 73 years old and there’s nothing she could’ve done to you,” Patterson said, alluding to McDermott. “You tell the kids to not fight. You tell the kids to walk away [from conflicts]. Search your souls and ask why you are really here.”
Kathy Sorenson of Maywood said McDermott should step down.
“If you laid hands on this woman for any reason, you should step down from this board,” she said.
McDermott refused to comment on the charges pending against him when asked about them at the end of the board meeting.
School Board President Teresa McKelvy said there will be no reprimands against McDermott coming from the school board.
“Mr. McDermott is innocent until proven guilty,” she said. “The board does not have the authority to tell another board member to step down. Only the voters and the court can do that.”
Kelly used a cane to walk with and shook hands using her left hand. She said her right arm and shoulder were sprained as a result of the altercation with McDermott.
“I’m not feeling my best,” she said after the meeting. “I go for therapy tomorrow.”