Judge lifts restraining order against Palatine District 15 strike

PALATINE, Ill. -- Now that a restraining order has been lifted, nurses and special needs school aides have rejoined other striking support staff on the picket line in Palatine School District 15.

The strike started October 16, and negotiations aren't set to resume for a few days.

The dispute has some parents keeping their kids home.

Another negotiating session was moved up from Sunday to Friday morning. That's good news to some parents who don't feel safe sending their special needs kids to school without their classroom aid.

Jessica Coop, 8, has autism and needs help throughout the day from her aid.

“She stays in the classroom with her, keeps on task, she’s with her the entire time,” Marisol Coop, a parent, said.

On Tuesday night, a judge said Jessica’s aid was allowed to strike again. A temporary restraining order was lifted which had kept her off the picket line. Since she wasn’t’ going to be at school Wedesday, her mom kept her at home.

Even though her work schedule was interrupted, she supports the members who are striking---98 percent of whom are women.

“When I found out what they were making and what their raise would have been, I was shocked. I thought maybe the same as teachers because they do so much for her,” she said.

Deb Jenssen, a special education program assistant, used to work with Jessica. She knows how important it is for kids with special needs to have consistency.

“They want to see those familiar faces. The ones that get them off the bus, help them in the bathroom. All those other things that are during our day,” Jenssen said.

All Jessica knows is she’d rather be in the classroom.

The 454 members who are striking include nurses, sign language interpreters, clerical staff and secretaries and classroom aids.

They are asking for a 2.5 percent raise, equivalent to 10 to 23 cents an hour, every year.

District 15 is offering a 1.85 percent raise that could increase to 2.45 percent.