MAHOMET, Ill. (WCIA) – A school board member took a stand for students. She gave a passionate 20-minute speech before walking out of the meeting Tuesday night, leaving only three other members and the superintendent at the table.

“As adults, we may feel like we’re helping but the kids tell us differently. That’s a problem,” Mahomet-Seymour School Board member Meghan Hennesy said. “We have students coming to us this year in pain.”

…In pain over bullies.

“For years, we’ve heard ‘but we don’t tell the adults because we don’t feel like anyone helps us,'” she said.

Plus, they’re sitting in crowded classrooms that Hennesy called “bursting at the seams” in Tuesday’s meeting.

“Teachers have to go online and ask for GoFundMes because they don’t have enough money to staff their classes appropriately,” she said.

Those are just some of Hennesy’s concerns she feels have been swept under the rug by her colleagues.

“Diversity has become a buzzword that we use to whip people up into a frenzy because it’s something that everyone has their own definition of, and we take advantage of that and we say it’s bad to talk about it,” Hennesy said.

She said when she first ran for the School Board, she wanted to make a change.

“I am sitting here four years later with the same problems that I stood up at that podium and talked to the board about,” she said.

That’s why she walked out.

“Tonight, I’m going to actually take a stand because I can.”

Hennesy said she will return to the board room. But for now, she’s hoping to draw attention to pleas that she said have gone unheard, and eventually find solutions.

“It’s extremely frustrating because it’s not just things that I want, it’s things the community is coming to me because they want a voice in it,” she said.

The meeting continued with just three members and the superintendent present.

“The biggest feeling that I have about that is I am truly sorry that someone feels that traumatized by their experience on the board,” one of the remaining members said.

“We have never claimed to be a perfect district,” Board President Max McComb said in the meeting. “The people that work here love your kids. They’ve got a passion for education.”

Hennesy declined to comment further at this time. Neither Superintendent Dr. Kenny Lee nor the remaining board members responded to a request for comment. However, Board President Max McComb provided this statement:

The YouTube video of last night is available on our website. Events pretty much speak for themselves and I’m not going to speak to Mrs. Hennesy’s positions or motives, or comment about board member behavior. My only additional comment is that: “Rather than dwelling on our disagreements over the past four years, I’m focused on moving forward and continuing to provide a great educational experience for our kids and our community.”

Max McComb