Monday, September 27, 2010


Just a couple WTF moments brought to you from culturally sensitive Central Illinois.

First, my son's high school mascot is the Warrior. As in Injun Fighting Warrior. Fine. Not a problem. Well, sort of a problem but what can you do? We ordered t-shirts from the band boosters that have the school colors and "I'm with the Band" on the back. No problem.

I was pretty surprised to see that there was a Native American caricature on the front of the shirt complete with a cartoon-ish Native American. O.K.

Last week was homecoming week and my boss was awesome enough to let me skip out early to see both Sam and Nat marching in the homecoming parade. I'd seen the Junior High band march before but never stuck around long enough to see the rest. Didn't know what I was missing!

It warmed my heart to see that my local, public, school does not crown a high school homecoming King and Queen...instead they crown a Chief and Princess.

And finally, as we walked into the homecoming football game on Saturday, about 10 feet from where school folks are collecting money for the game, I saw about 8 people wearing Mike Unes t-shirts while selling raffle tickets on behalf of the boosters. I swear that I didn't know Mr. Unes' political affiliation.

My loving husband bought me a pork chop sandwich (what is it about the pork chop sandwiches at the football game) and as we stood around, I approached Mr. Unes and asked him if he had any qualms about politicking on school property. He said he was there with his "people" doing a community service. I asked him, then, if he would ask his helpers to removed their 'Unes' t-shirts...since he was there doing a public service and all.

Oddly enough, Mike Unes ended our conversation and asked me what my problem was. I didn't really have a problem, the pork chop sandwich was damn good. Being notoriously abrasive as I am, I noticed that the principal and superintendent were 'in da house' so I moseyed up, introduced myself and asked the principal what district policy is regarding political campaigning on school grounds. The principal (Paul Wittington) is a smart fellow and immediately directed me to the Superintendent, Mr. Chuck Nagel.

Imagine my relief when Mr. Nagel shared that he understood my concerns and assured me that having Mike Unes and his supporters selling raffle tickets on behalf of the EPCHS boosters was an issue he'd grappled with all week. Whew!

He then went on to tell me that the boosters have many non-profit groups who come to games to sell tickets on behalf of the the Susan G. Komen Foundation and The American Cancer Society. I pointed out that those two organizations are non-profit agencies without a political agenda. I wondered, aloud, if District 309 was in the habit of endoring political candidates. Mr. Nagel told me no.

We shook hands, he asked me my name again, I continued to eat my pork chop sandwich and went to find my husband. I was sure he was in hiding by this point. But he wasn't. He was still standing (finishing his own sandwich) not far from Mr. Unes and his peeps. I thought it would be cool to get a picture of Mr. Unes and his peeps selling raffle tickets and headed back over their direction....I stood apart from them and took my first picture. Imagine my surprise when some lady in an Unes shirt bum rushed me and reached for my camera!

The rest is a blur but it involved the Superintendent tapping Unes on the shoulder and directing him to the concession stand area (home of the delicious pork chop sandwich). I went back outside the 'gates' to watch the drumline practice (that's where my boy was). As I was standing watching #1 and the rest of the East Peoria Community High School drumline do their pre-game thing, several people wearing Mike Unes t-shirts walked back in forth in front of me...I think they were trying to be ominous. Not sure, though.

Finally, my child stopped performing and I headed back in to the stands to find my husband (who finally had the good sense to separate himself from me....). As I walked back in some lady with really white teeth, bad veneers and a little boy asked me if I had a problem with her watching the football game...she was wearing an Unes t-shirt. I think I probably told her "rock on" and walked I walked away, one of the ladies taking tickets put her hand on my shoulder and said "Thank you, I agree with you 100%."

The rest of the game was uneventful...except that EPCHS won and the band ROCKED IT!

P.S. I'm still debating whether I should contact the school board for clarification re: politicians politicianing on school property. I did a little research and found that most districts limit political activity on public school grounds.


Emerge Peoria said...

Damn. Somebody actually tried to take your camera! What!

Wow, kudos to you Rix. Obviously you handled yourself well, because it seems to me the people wearing the Unes T-shirts were waaaay out of line. As a matter of fact, their behavior was quite hood.

Not a good look for Unes.

Good for you for standing your ground.

Peoria Pundit on TellPeoria said...

NOBODY has the right to grab anyone's camera. Post the picture!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Unreal. Hope your house doesn't get egged. I say post that picture all over EP and the internet to spread the word about this Unes's agenda AND his followers.