Grant Bennett's seen too many deaths related to driving accidents, and he's not going to take it anymore.
The Unity High School junior, along with staff and other students at the Tolono school, are starting a program that will apply peer pressure to get teens and other drivers to act safer on the road.
A group of second-graders is making pictures of butterflies on fabric in Shauna Carey's art classroom on a recent morning. They outline the butterfly wings with wax, then use fabric markers to color them after the wax dries.
Suddenly, Carey spots Israel Garza, who has colored a portion of his butterfly's wings brown.
To Janice Harrington, it sounded like math homework – homework a mom and her kid were struggling with for hours recently at the Champaign Public Library, where Harrington is the children's services manager.
"The mother, the voice is getting higher and higher," Harrington said, recounting the scene. "A lot of repetition was going on."
CHAMPAIGN – Zanita Willis was just starting her first school year as a principal in August when she invited an Army reservist to speak to her students at Carrie Busey Elementary School about the skills he uses in his job.
The appearance of a soldier in uniform at the school generated several weeks' worth of controversy in the community. Willis turned to Bottenfield Elementary School Principal Barb Daly to talk over the matter. Daly has been a principal for 10 years and serves as Willis' mentor.
HOOPESTON – Hoopeston teachers could be working under a new contract soon. The Hoopeston Education Association and school district reached a tentative agreement early this morning after a bargaining session that lasted more than 12 hours.
A federal mediator helped broker the talks.
HOOPESTON – Don Inman cannot help but worry about whether Hoopeston teachers will strike, since they're still without a new contract after eight months of negotiations – and talks between the union and school district seem to be at a standstill.
"It makes you feel uncomfortable," said Inman, whose daughter, Chelsea Rutledge, attends Hoopeston Area High School. "If they go on strike, it could affect the kids' education."
CHAMPAIGN – Ask high school students what they read for fun, and chances are many will cite the blockbuster "Harry Potter" series.
Coincidently, the popular J.K. Rowling books also top the American Library Association's list of most challenged books of the 21st century – books parents filed formal protests about with school or public librarians, asking that they be removed because of content or appropriateness.
CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school district officials will spend the next several months revamping a report on how they'll meet the goals of the district's consent decree.
U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade told administrators at a hearing Thursday he was not satisfied with the report they submitted last month, that it was "largely unresponsive" to his order and didn't address how they would speed up their progress. He said the plan was not an easily understandable road map and wasn't specific enough as to how the district could accomplish its goals.
TOLONO – Unity High School students will have the benefit of counselors when they return to school Monday to help them deal with the tragic death of a 16-year-old classmate killed in a car accident Thursday afternoon.
Three other Unity students also injured in the accident remained at Carle Foundation Hospital this morning.
CHAMPAIGN – Visitors to Edison Middle School will now be greeted at the door and asked for identification, in the wake of a report of an intruder in the building Wednesday.
Shortly after noon Wednesday, a student reported seeing a man in the building, near a restroom, and became concerned, said Principal Joe Williams. No intruder was found.