Special education advocate Bev Johns is threatened.

Beverley Holden Johns

Me and Bev Johns at a state conference of the Illinois Council for Exceptional Children.

My friend Bev Johns is a leading advocate for children with special needs in Illinois. Lately I have been reposting her information on my Facebook page warning of changes to the delivery of services to Illinois students with special needs that would not be in those students’ interests.

Apparently this has upset some of the state’s vested interests.

This morning, Bev sent me this email exchange:

Dear Bev, 

 Thank you for all you do for our kids with special needs. We are living in times when powerful, monied interests regularly resort to threats in order to silence thoughtful, child-centered and proven positions on education.

Please know that I have your back and consider you an invaluable ally in the fight for special education in Illinois. Please let me know what, if any, steps you would like me to take in response to these irresponsible silencing tactics.

Also, please feel to share this email. 

 All the best to you and yours. 

 Mary Fahey Hughes, Founder and Director, 19th Ward Parents for Special Education

—————————————

This morning I received an email from JUNO saying complaints had been received. I have sent emails to the EXACT SAME lists for over 2 years, and immediately remove anyone requesting that (I believe I have received only 2 such requests over the last 2 years).

On January 28, Kevin Rubenstein sent an email to all members of IAASE (the Illinois special ed administrators), signed by the leaders of IAASE, detailing their involvement in the Evidence Based (Vision 20/20) proposal to change education funding.

That email also stated –

While some in the special education community have urged people to begin making phone calls to Commission members, we do not feel that this is necessary at this time since the work of the Commission is to produce a report only.

On January 29, I sent an email to my various lists urging action, that also stated –

The leadership of one organization sees no need for your input directly to the Commission (as they appear to favor what it is now recommending), saying the Commission will just produce a report.

On January 31, Kevin sent me an email asking to whom I had sent my email. I replied that he was on a list of special ed administrators. We exchanged several courteous emails, he offered to meet in person, but immediately after I replied saying we could discuss these matters via email, he replied saying “you misquote us or talk about us in general terms and then go on to misquote things that we have said… as was the case with your message on Sunday.”

As he stated, “us” (twice) and “we have said”, it appeared he was speaking for IAASE.

In that email he also made other threats (see below). Any suggestions as to what I should do? (I have NOT received a response to the email below sent to thePresident of IAASE).

Thanks, Bev

———- Forwarded Message ———-

From: “Beverley Holden Johns” 

To: leaanne.frost@echoja.org

Subject: IAASE

Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2017 12:12:03 GMT

Lea Anne – 

I have received an email from Kevin Rubenstein making various threats. I have asked him (twice) if he was making the statements for IAASE and he has twice avoided a direct answer.

As this is a very serious matter, please reply as to whether he is doing this for IAASE.

He stated the following:

(1) you are either (ab)using the lists from Illinois CEC (which deserves attention from the national organization) [despite the fact that I had informed him that I was using a listing of special education administrators]

(2) or you added me to a list without my consent in which case your messages would be considered spam and against the law.  I am pretty sure that there are hefty fines for organizations that do that. Does the Illinois Special Education Coalition have a budget?

Thanks, Bev

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