HOMER, Ill. (WCIA) — Teachers in the Heritage School District in Homer are speaking out in support of one of their own.
There was a special meeting on Monday, calling into question the employment of Megan McDaniel. Last week, a video of an incident between McDaniel and a student began circulating on social media.
“No one should have to worry that their choice to go above and beyond on behalf of the students could land them in trouble,” said Lori Aten, Heritage Education Association President.
The school board voted to go into a closed session to discuss the next steps for the district, but not before the public got a chance to share how they felt about the situation.
“When an incident happens, it’s best for parents and teachers to reflect on the combined information that they have: times in school and times at home,” one person said. “What is best for this child?”
On Oct. 18, a school parent named Bailey Gray demanded action from the district after a surfaced on social media. It shows Gray’s daughter running down the hall, then McDaniel stopping the student by grabbing her.
“When questions were raised about the intervention, procedural checks at both the district level and state level were invoked,” said teacher Justin Lee. “In those assessments, the intervention done by the educator has not been seconded guessed.”
Aten said a Department of Children and Family Services investigation also found McDaniel did nothing wrong. She said she believed McDaniel was simply doing her job to protect the student.
“Knowing the student could be running into a situation where she could get hurt, this teacher took it upon herself to keep that from happening,” said Aten.
Gray said the situation should have been handled differently with less force on her daughter. Fellow educators said McDaniel was doing what was needed to keep that student and other students safe.
“We want to avoid Heritage becoming a cautionary tale for possible future educators,” Lee said. “Instead, we want to encourage them to enter what I think and am convinced is the noblest of professions.”
Gray said after the meeting that her children are no longer enrolled in the Heritage School District. The board hasn’t commented on the outcome of the meeting after going into closed session.
Aten did suggest that the board make some changes: hiring trained staff for student safety in the hallways and crisis intervention training for staff members.