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L. Pekkarinen

Mr Bednar,
What an amazing video. It helps explain why we can't do things today, as we did them when we went to school... why our students must be so much better than we were.

L. Price

This reminds us that not only are our kids growing up fast, but technology is growing so much faster. Those statistics were astounding. What a great video. Thanks for sharing it.

Kevin & Danita Bergrud

Jason, Since you are not responding to our emails or certified letter- this seems to be the means of communication.

I'm sure you'll not find many people agreeing that it is right for you to ignore inquiries or issues that you are uncomfortable with for whatever reason. Even the issue of not giving us parents accurate and truthful information. Do you think you may be ready to alter this path you're on or do we continue to take other courses of action? We see reading other posts (even the ones you delete) and hearing other's stories that - we are not alone in many issues - as you always try to make us believe.

A conversation with our mayor the other day confirmed that the steps we are taking are appropriate... and unlike others, we will not buckle or be silenced under your or your bosses authority. So for months now - we wait for your response on issues from safety to policies to untruthful correspondence. We anticipate your public reply.

Angie Gaul

The record needs to be set straight on some of the accurate and truthful information you are referring to not getting form Jason. In the case of the Halloween party (or no Halloween Party, as the case may be), at no time have I seen or heard Jason misrepresent the truth. I and about 40+ others sat in a meeting where Donna Crawford announced that there would not be Halloween parties at the elementary schools going forward. (This is in the minutes from the meeting-available online.) I believe the principals were given the heads up that the announcement was coming. Jason spoke with me that very afternoon and confirmed that the announcement had been made. It wasn't until after he confirmed the announcement that he made the announcement to the Owen population. Just because the situation has changed (and you didn't agree with the announcement), doesn't mean he lied at the time. At the time he passed on completely truthful and accurate information. As for the "others" you mention in your post and have mentioned in correspondences to my PTA District Director, I don't believe they exist. Believe me, I've searched, and so have others. I thank my friends for keeping me informed and sticking up for what's right as you continue to badmouth me, the PTA and the school. If you are so completely unhappy, why don't you excercise an attendance area exception and attend another school where you and your family could be much happier?

Robin Bonaguro

I have two children in attendance at Owen, and am an active member of the PTA. I recognize that the structure of the education system has seen great changes since my time in school. While I might not agree with some of those changes, I applaud the administration and educators of the district for the outstanding job that they are doing. My children are happy, well adjusted, in a safe environment and learning every day. I have to question what more it is that is expected from this school district. If my children came home in tears because of bullying situations, chastisement, being ostracized or anything similar, then I would have serious concerns. I was taught (in school, as well as at home), that if I don’t have anything nice to say about someone, then I shouldn’t say anything at all. I have also learned that every time I point a finger in criticism, there are three fingers pointing right back at me. I would hope that in the future this blog can be used for constructive criticism and positive reinforcement of all the wonderful happenings at Owen Elementary.

Owen Parent

Mr. Bednar

While I am not a blog junkie, I have to admit that I've perused the comments from time to time out of sheer curiosity and amusement. Unfortunately, there are some who feel that this blog is their own personal forum for airing grievances and they use it as a resource for gaining their 15 minutes of fame. I would submit that most of the readers realize the true nature and purpose of the blog. Even so, it is easy to let emotions run wild and to join in on the "bashings" every now and then. I guess those of us who aren’t buying into the “conspiracy theory” have strong opinions also and we’re finally speaking up.

I’ve spent the majority of my adult life making decisions that directly impact large groups of people. In some cases, they have been life altering for those involved. I fully understand that many decisions are made based not on popular opinion, but on other influences beyond the decision maker’s control. Decisions are made because they are the correct course of action for a given situation or set of circumstances (which are sometimes not known to everyone). Regardless of the decision, there will always be that 5% who complain, make allegations about conspiracies, and continue to fight battles that can’t possibly be won rather than accepting the decision and moving on.

My point is very simple. I can only speak for myself, but I fully support your efforts as the principal at Owen. I may not agree with everything you do or decide, but you are in a better position to make those decisions than am I and quite frankly, that is your job. I appreciate that you have the welfare of my children in mind and are committed to providing them an environment in which to maximize their learning potential. While it appears that you are being harassed and attacked through every avenue (blog, editorials, etc.), please remember that there is a silent group of parents who think you are doing just fine. Keep up the good work!

P.S. I have chosen to remain anonymous in this forum, but will certainly introduce myself to you the next time I’m at Owen.

Kevin & Danita Bergrud

First of all – This is not “the blame game”. This is all about truthfulness, ethics, right and wrong and the rights of parents and children.

Second of all - WE DID IT!! Have you read the Naperville papers lately? Determination and honesty will always prevail and do pay off.

After Kevin spent over 5 hours at the 204 policy and board meetings it looks like something we (and others) have felt strongly about and spoken up for - is finally happening. The little guy CAN make a difference!

Parents now have the “official” right and opportunity to have their say in our school events, room parties and alternative activities!! We, as parents, can give our input on what we want for our kids. And whether anyone is pro or con on any issue - Just know that now you can now be heard and your voices will no longer be silenced. For this we are thankful.

According to the policy 672 our principal has to now “collaborate” with the parents in regards to the above issues. We also understand that there will be guidelines written as well that will give him procedures on collaborating with us so there can be no room for “error”.

And know - contrary to what others write - we are not always fighting (for lack of a better word) for our beliefs, we are fighting for everyone's right to truthful information, for input regarding our kid's schooling and for the safety of our irreplaceable children. Numerous things and policies have changed in this district and at Owen because of our personal time and effort and we offer no apologies to those in a small group who feel we are attacking those in authority. I assure you, it’s only because we feel those in authority should do and should be bound to do what is best and safest for our children – which sometimes does not happen. Matthew 18:15,16 talks about going to the person you are experiencing a problem with - Just the two of you. If he will not listen, take others so that every matter may be established by the testimony of witnesses. This is what was done and yes, things have changed because of it.

Angie – The questions I asked you with corresponding comments were meant to prompt you to see some discrepancies in the way things were being done. The hopes were that the right things would be done and parents would be informed. Obviously this didn’t happen.

We never did see anything going out to parents telling them that that you were experiencing “quite a few” transmissions that were returned to you. I’m sure many are not aware that they are not receiving information intended for them.

I’m not aware of copies of the budget or minutes being sent to parents – just because it’s the right thing to do. No one can MAKE you do it – right?

You never quoted me PTA policy on accepting and answering parent’s inquiries. If a parent pays their membership fees – their emails should not be blocked. Certified letters should not be REFUSED simply because they come from a parent that challenges the rights of the PTA members.

And I’d like to point our more “mis-information” in your last post, Angie. You’ve been writing and telling people for weeks now that you refused the certified letter because it had “no return address”. Now, after I prove that it had a return address on it, as stated in your post above, you now state you refused it “because it came from me.“ Wow.

Anyway, the year is over
– We have a new PTA president for next year and many new board- members. The vote that you and the principal state was voted on months ago – Was finally really voted on this week. It came to an appropriate end - though most parents -were not aware that someone out there was fighting for their rights.
- The kids loved their teachers and classes even though they were told that if they play before school starts, they could ultimately be expelled. Some were even told that it “was dangerous” if they sit on the grass under the shade of a tree at the front of the school.
- Kevin and I were able to volunteer in the library, at the book sale, on a field trip and in the classroom though we found it sad that my offer to teach a photography class for the mini-courses was not only refused but not even acknowledged.
- And my emails to our 2 children’s classes offering a discounted rate to participate in a sleepover at the Field Museum and to get the kids together this summer for some social time and craft projects was met with anger from the PTA president. I find it sad children are suffering because those with an authority position may not like some points being brought out.

Hopefully our valuable time spent, posts, certified letters, meetings and correspondences with the school and district, attendance and speaking at the PTA and 204 board meetings, printings by the local newspapers and being trashed by your friends will help not only the school but also individual families and most importantly our children. Even if only to open their eyes to become more involved.

We have seen another unexpected benefit come out of our determination too – Two job offers - by those seeing our resolve and fortitude and appreciating what we have put into what we believe in. You know what they say of things coming back 10 fold… It’s true.

In all – Owen Parents - We hope you all have a wonderful summer and enjoy every moment with your loved ones. Being an accident survivor, I’m all too aware that things can end in the blink of an eye. Spend your time meaningfully, purposefully and intently and the right things will happen.

Remember... When you have something to say -- Stick up for yourself and stand your ground. If you are true to your beliefs, only good can come of it. Bee good. D and K

Kevin & Danita Bergrud

Still waiting to hear from our principal regarding our inquiries via email, certified letter and above post.

Jason Bednar

Just to clarify an inaccurate statement above, no students were threatened with expulsion for playing. Because we are a unit district serving students age 3-21, most disciplinary policies must be written broadly enough to cover that wide range of ages.

Radha Shankar

The video is just awesome. Thanks for sharing with us.
Parents, please respect others time. Do not take your emotions/problem here in this webpage. If you have problems , please visit the school and talk to the person directly and it will save your time as well as others. Please set an example for your kids.

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