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Cooke Parents Cite Discrimination as Reason Behind Closure

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 242

(File Photo)

(File Photo)

The Galesburg Community Relations Commission invited parents and guardians to their monthly meeting last night to discuses the closure of Cooke Elementary.

Several families showed up looking for their opportunity to tell the commission why they believe they’ve been discriminated against.

Before Commission Chair John Hunigan turned the floor over to those in attendance, he made it very clear the commission’s reach is limited.

“Specifically doing something to overrule what the Board of Education has decided for Cooke School — we don’t have that authority,” Hunigan said.

Hunigan did explain they can look into any claims of discrimination committed by the school board.

Parents told commissioners the way the board went about closing Cooke made it almost impossible for parents, many of whom don’t have access to cars to attend meetings to fight for the school.

Parent Tiffany Charles says a meeting about the closure was scheduled at Cooke; but when the district closed due to weather, many parents figured the meeting was cancelled.

“You live in our neighborhood and look; a lot of [parents] don’t have transportation,” Charles said.  “They would have froze.”

Charles says, when people didn’t show up because they physically couldn’t get to the meeting, the district said no one cared about the issue.

The Community Relations Commission has agreed to look into whether the matter was motivated by discrimination.