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Thanks to our PSRPs - today and every day!

11/21/2018

A message from Jane Russell, IFT Secretary-Treasurer

Today is PSRP Day in Illinois! Every third Wednesday in November, we celebrate this day and show appreciation to the more than 100,000 dedicated PSRPs like you who provide essential services in classrooms, school offices, cafeterias, school buses, and more.
 
Your work is invaluable to ensuring that our schools and institutions run smoothly and efficiently. You keep students safe in healthy, productive learning environments. And you play a critical role in keeping our unions strong.

During my long teaching career, I was honored to work with some amazing PSRPs whose efforts improved the lives and learning of our students. I want to tell you about one of them — Cyrus.

Cyrus was a high school security guard in our district for 19 years. He was firm, but kind. He made friends easily, and he considered it his job to know everyone in the school. And I do mean everyone! He lived in the suburban community in which he worked, where the influence of gangs began to impact the schools in the early 1990s and made his job challenging.
 
Despite the difficulties, countless students over the years told me how Cyrus touched their lives in many positive ways. They knew he cared for them, and it showed. One student recounted a time when Cyrus brought a pass to take her out of class. He proudly announced to everyone in the room, “She’s someone I’ve known since she was a baby.” As a teen, she was embarrassed by his remarks, but gladly took a picture with Cyrus at her graduation to help him complete his “family album” of photos he had taken with her older siblings at their graduations.
 
Cyrus was a role model to his colleagues, and showed new and struggling security guards how to work effectively with students. Through his example, they learned to use tough love instead of harsh punishment to correct bad behavior and stop it from repeating.

One Halloween, the teachers dressed as security guards out of respect for Cyrus and his fellow guards. In return, he created a medley of songs to describe each of us upon our retirements. As a chemistry teacher, I was dubbed the “Black Magic Woman.” That still makes me smile.

Sadly, Cyrus passed away from brain cancer in 2012. He left a wife, children, and an extended family of coworkers and students who will never forget him. 

On behalf of the members, leaders, and staff of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, I want to offer our deepest gratitude to all PSRPs who, just like Cyrus, make a difference every day.
 
This PSRP Day - and every day - we thank you for all you do.

In gratitude and solidarity,

Jane Russell
IFT Secretary-Treasurer
 
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