Group of local parents advocates for ‘justice, equity’ within Peoria Public Schools

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A new group of local parents is hoping to change the environment within Peoria Public Schools.

Parents for Education Justice is a group born out of the Peoria People’s Project. Members said the group was established in March and launched in July and now consists of local leaders and about 30 parents.

“Over the past year, we have organized a group of parents to demand justice and equity in our schools,” Joey Grace, an organizer with Central Illinois Grassroots Coalition, said.

Members said they saw disparities in the school system and wanted to ensure children all over the city and of all income levels could have the same opportunities.

The group had its third meeting Monday night, via Zoom, where they envisioned their ideal educational system and tossed out ideas they’d like to see for local schools if they had unlimited funding.

Ideas included accessibility, a more welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBT+ students, uniformity in how schools operate, more counseling, equal treatment for all students, and alternative learning structures for students.

Lynn Fingerhut, one of the members, said the community benefits from having good quality schools, thriving students and happy teachers.

“Like a lot of places we have a lot of inequalities,” Fingerhut said. “There’s economic inequality, there’s racial inequality, there’s some environmental inequalities and we are trying to address some of that and reinvent what schools could be and support our teachers, support the staff, get them the resources that they need to make a better environment for our children.”

Organizers said their next step is to decide which issues are a priority to start formulating campaigns around.

The next meeting is Dec. 14.

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