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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • Residents say teacher's resignation was forced

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  • METAMORA — On March 18 the Metamora Township High School Board of Education had a full house of people protesting what some Metamora residents, including Rodney Ringger, said was a forced resignation of a teacher.
    On the board’s agenda for the March 18 special meeting, section 4b. states, “Accept resignation of chorus teacher.” This agenda item caused a public outcry that night at the meeting when Todd Cheek resigned from his position.
    Germantown Hills resident Kitty Cullet said the meeting drew the attention of about 300 people.
    Randall Toepke, Metamora Township High School superintendent, said he did not expect more than 150 people to show up to the meeting. However, the number of people more than filled the school board’s usual meeting place.
    “We had to move things to the auditorium,” Toepke said.
    One of the meeting attendees, East Peoria resident Becki Salmon, said what a testament the number is to Cheek’s popularity.
    “I think that shows what an impact he has had,” Salmon said.
    She said that since Cheek’s resignation that the children have been getting together every day after school because they are devastated.
    “This is a huge mourning period for these kids,” Salmon said.
    Toepke did not list the reasons why Cheek resigned.
    “We have to make sure we protect the privacy of the teacher,” he said.
    Salmon said she believes that some of the chorus students’ parents had something to do with the resignation.
    “There are some overzealous parents that have a personal vendetta over differences,” she said. “It appears there are some relationships on the board that are being used to get their way.”
    Cheek had been with the school for four years as a chorus teacher. When addressing the Board of Education at its meeting March 21, he said he does not want his resignation to affect the rest of the school year in a negative way.
    “I’ve been trying to tell my students, ‘There is no blame that should be pointed at anyone in this matter,’” he said.
    Cheek was unavailable for comment at press time.
    Cheek will finish out the rest of the school year as the chorus teacher.
    “My intention for the rest of the school year is to do what we do every spring,” he said referring to the school’s spring concert.
    The next MTHS Board of Education meeting will occur at 7 p.m. April 25. The board meets at 7 p.m. every third Thursday of the month in the school’s library.
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