David Shepard

The last time voters in Illinois House District 36 in the Oak Lawn area had a choice on their general election ballot was in 2012. Now, for the first time in a decade, they will have a choice not only in the November 8 general election. for the state representative but also in the June 28 Republican primary. David Sheppard was recruited by Illinois Policy to provide that choice and help end the voter suppression inherent in a system that does not give voters a choice.

“At the end of the last school year in June, I sat down with the principal of my son’s school to put my son’s Individual Education Plan in place so that he could start school in August on time. My son is 8 and has non-verbal autism so we met to discuss procedures to make sure he could start on time.

“Immediately, at the start of the conversation, the principal insisted that my son attend a full day of lessons. I explained again, for the third or fourth time, because of his disability, he will never be able to attend a full day at school. I left knowing everything was fine and my son’s plan was in place.

“Here: August is coming and there was no start date for my son because no plan was in place.”

“So we met on the first day of the school year, and the principal insisted that my child go to school full time. I explained to them that he can’t go full time: he understands time in a different concept from ours, and you have to put him in school gradually. So, I asked that we build up the weather until he was there for the whole day, so he wouldn’t know the difference. The principal refused, insisting on full time.

“I had to hire a lawyer. The school district brought their lawyer. This was the environment for the next meetings.

“Every time I’ve asked for housing for my son, the response from the district has been, ‘We don’t think he needs it.’ According to illinois state, a student’s attendance may be changed for medical reasons. The district said I was misinterpreting the law. The state requirements have a separate section for children with autism which states that districts must make special accommodations beyond what is normally required because they have sensory issues, time perception issues, etc. The district wouldn’t budge on the grounds that they didn’t. consider his autism a “medical reason” for him to go less than full time.

“I said, ‘Autism is a medical diagnosis. Why do you continue to treat my child as if his problems were not essential? They are not, they are real. He’s non-verbal, so it’s up to me as a father to speak for him. And it’s just not a level playing field. When I walk into the room, it’s 12 of them to one of me. When you walk through the door as a parent, the state of Illinois States that you’re the most important person on a team, but you always make your voice heard, you’re in the minority, and you’re disrespected in most of these roundtables.

“If I’m treated this way and I’m the local police chief, I can’t imagine the families who suffer because they’re shy or don’t know their rights for their children with disabilities. And the district doesn’t tell them what’s really going on with their child.

“Why a political function? It’s simple. This fight has gotten personal, but there are so many people in the same fight. The most powerful and important thing for me is my son. Now that I’ve had a dispute with the district office over what her rights should be, no family should have to put up with this.

“I personally called our state representative and they did nothing to resolve the situation.”

“So I want to make sure that the voices of the mental health community and people with illness are heard. To get access to the things they need, they need to be heard. And on top of that, the systems Schools can’t tell a parent what to do with their kid. He’s my kid. School’s got him for five hours, and I’ve got him for the rest of his life. You can’t tell me what’s going on. is best for my child and I want to lead this fight for the people in my neighborhood because I know that many families are affected by this.

“As I was collecting signatures, I came across so many people with autistic kids, anxious kids and things of that nature and there were no resources. So I want to make sure those voices are This is part one of my fight and part two is the crime Again, I shouldn’t be afraid as a police chief who has a gun 24 hours a day driving on the Dan Ryan.

“We pay some of the highest taxes in the country, but I’m too scared to drive my car on the road for fear someone might shoot me while I’m travelling. I shouldn’t have to see that people who hijacked people can get out of jail to hijack someone else. It shouldn’t be. If you hijack someone, that person should stay in jail until the trial is held. It’s not rocket science.

“There are many people who think like me, but they are not able or able to make their voices heard in this room in Springfield. Instead of just sending the message to the room, I want to be in the room to be the voice of my community in Springfield.

David Shepard
Robbins, Illinois, Chief of Police
Oak Lawn, Illinois