With decision on yearbook controversy looming, Glenbrook District 225 board meets Tuesday

During a recent Glenbrook High School District 225 board meeting, attorney Justin Petrarca gives a report about a controversial quote that appeared in the Glenbrook South High School yearbook.
Courtesy of District 225

The Glenbrook High School District 225 board will hold a special, closed-door meeting Tuesday, one week before it’s expected to take action regarding the out-of-context use of a student’s comment about Israel and Palestinians in a yearbook.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the district headquarters, 3801 W. Lake Ave., Glenview. While the bulk of the meeting will be private, public comment from audience members will be allowed.

A District 225 spokeswoman declined to disclose the subject of the discussion, citing the Illinois Open Meetings Act’s exception for personnel matters.

But the meeting will be the board’s first since its attorney released a report that showed a lack of teacher oversight and poor journalistic decisions were factors in the controversy over the latest edition of the Glenbrook South High School yearbook, Etruscan.

On a timeline in the book, a student’s quote was published in such a way that she appeared to support the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks against Israel, even though that topic never was mentioned by the teen or the yearbook staffer who interviewed her, District 225 lawyer Justino D. Petrarca said.

Petrarca revealed veteran yearbook adviser Brenda Field was aware of the quote before the yearbook was published and asked student editors about it but didn’t try to remove it from the book. Field didn’t consult with Glenbrook South administrators about the quote, either, which she should have done under district policy, Petrarca said.

Additionally, Petrarca’s report showed Field “spends minimal time performing any oversight of the publication process.”

Petrarca interviewed Field as well as the student who gave the quote, the student who interviewed her, another yearbook staffer and administrators at the Glenview school. Three student editors-in-chief who have since graduated refused to be interviewed, Petrarca said.

Petrarca also reviewed a recording of the interview.

Board President Bruce Doughty called Petrarca’s report “shocking and disturbing.” Officials must address the situation and take action to prevent it from recurring, he said.

The school board hasn’t taken action on the matter but could at its July 8 meeting, officials have said. No board action will occur Tuesday, officials said.

Glenbrook South has offered replacement yearbooks or stickers to cover the quote.

‘This was never the context’: Report on controversial Glenbrook South yearbook quote released

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