Morris High School board candidates talk changes in the curriculum and sex education

Candidates vying for a seat representing Morris Community High School board are expressing their views on the curriculum and sex education.

MORRIS – Candidates vying for a seat representing Morris Community High School board are expressing their views on the curriculum and sex education.

Six candidates are vying for the three open seats on April 4 Consolidated Election, incumbents Lynn Vermillion and Scot Hastings will face off against four new candidates, as incumbent Suzy Brown chose not to run again.

Lynn Vermillion, the current vice president, told voters during the Meet and Greet on Saturday, March 18, that she was running for reelection because she believed the past few years of remote and hybrid learning has “taken an education and social toll” on students and staff.

“There is work to be done to recover both the lost learning as well as lost social skills. I hope to continue to play a large role in the future as a board member... I believe our most important duty as board members is to assist and allow our educators to focus on teaching our students to be proficient in basic core subjects and to teach our students how to think not what to think,” she said.

Newcomer Judith Miller agreed that “return to full time in classes was not without adjustments”, but the school “adapted and made it work.”

“I think we all learned that change can develop new skills and we can adapt to whatever challenges we face,” she said.

Miller said she choose to run for school board because as an educator the “best times” for the school were when everyone from the board, administration, and facility were able to work together.

She said she had no agenda to address specific curriculum changes but, that the school needed to offer “courses as required by the state” and courses and electives to help students develop their abilities and interests in pursuit of graduation.

However, Steven Halcomb, a newcomer with a degree in education from the University of Illinois, said he believed that students needed to pursue a more advanced curriculum, so students had a competitive advantage, specifically in the areas of math and science.

“Additionally, we need to further innovate our Grundy Area Vocational Center to develop skills so that students who want to pursue a career immediately out of high school can do so without incurring debt,” he said.

Newcomer, Jeff Wyn chose to run for election after he become aware of the possibility that the National Sex Education Standards may be implemented. He told voters during a meet and greet he contacted 861 Superintendents across Illinois to stop them from being implemented at local schools.

“The standards are not age appropriate and they are not medically accurate. I have a strong desire to help children and protect children and parents’ rights. One of the reasons I choose to run for the board was to hold the district to their word to not adopt the National Sexual Education Standards,” he said.

Dan Darlington agreed that sex education should start at home, but said schools should follow state and federal statutes, but ultimately decided to run, because of his “desire to to see Morris High School be the best.”

“We should have the best scores, the best extracurriculars, the best everything. I think people want to see Morris be the best. I want people when they think about coming to Morris to say we have the best education available,” he said.

All candidates were sent an election questionnaire with only three returned. Incumbent Scot Hastings was unable to be reached for comment.

Early voting for the April 4 Consolidated Election has already begun. For information, visit grundycountyil.gov.

Maribeth M. Wilson

Maribeth M. Wilson is a reporter for Shaw Local News Network