Audible gasps and murmurs came from the audience in attendance at the May 16 board of education meeting for Proviso Township High School District 209 as previous board president Arbdella Patterson told Supt. James Henderson ‘you are being lynched,” during a discussion. 

The board was speaking regarding action item 25: Approval of Directives for Administrative Employee, which was discussed during closed session, when Patterson expressed her concern regarding a portion of the item where it discussed reimbursement. 

Since addressed in closed session, the item was not discussed during the live-streamed meeting but did fall into possible ways the new board majority, composed of board members Sandra Hixson, Jennifer Barbahen, David Ocampo, and new board president Amanda Grant, will attempt to hold Henderson accountable following the many controversies and alleged mishandling of district funds. 

At the meeting, not all board members were aligned on how to move forward as was clearly demonstrated by Patterson’s comments during the discussion of the item. 

“I disagree with the reimbursement and to further notice, everyone that turns in their receipts are reimbursed. Right is right,” Patterson said. “I don’t know why the superintendent has to tell you what time you arrive … what time you leave … that’s kind of changing the contract. I think you probably should take a look at what his contract says and reference he can go teach at college, according to the contract. So, I’m just saying that we need to really look at the contract. That’s it.” 

Following Patterson’s initial comment, board member Rodney Alexander asked who created the contract. Grant said herself along with William Gleason, attorney with Hauser Izzo, LLC created the document, which Gleason said was vetted against his current contract, policy, and code. 

“You are being lynched,” said Patterson addressing Henderson. “You know how they used to do back in the day.” 

Reactions from the audience in attendance were audible. 

“That is out of order,” said Grant. 

“OK, that’s your opinion,” responded Patterson. “I am entitled to mind.” 

Neither Patterson nor Henderson responded to requests for comment.  

Additionally, board member Samuel Valtierrez expressed concern during the meeting regarding an item, which he said he was still confused on, but continued to say he has seen them done before. However, Valtierrez did not provide additional information during the meeting as to what those specific concerns were, simply that the board had already discussed them. Valtierrez voted in favor of the item. Valtierrez did not wish to provide comment to a Village Free Press question later. 

The item passed, with Patterson and Alexander opposing. Alexander did not respond to comment requests. 

The next board meeting for the Proviso Township High School District 209 will be on Tuesday, May 30 at 7 p.m. at Proviso Math and Science Academy, 8601 Roosevelt Rd., Forest Park.