Kristen Scotti, D202 board candidate, talks advocacy for students with disabilities and community outreach


Seeger Gray/Daily Senior Staffer

Kristen Scotti. Scotti is running for election to the Evanston Township High School District 202 Board of Education.

Jessica Ma, Senior Staffer

Kristen Scotti describes herself as introverted. She said she never saw herself running for the Evanston Township High School District 202 Board of Education — but she’s doing it anyway.

“This is really outside my comfort zone,” Scotti said. “I’m disabled, and I have a disabled kid in the district. It’s just about wanting to see better outcomes for disabled kids.” 

Scotti is currently working on their materials science and engineering Ph.D. at Northwestern and is running for their first term on the District 202 board. Scotti aims to promote equitable outcomes while highlighting how intersectional, marginalized identities impact academic performance. As someone with a disability, they see their own experiences reflected in their child’s.

When Scotti was in high school, she was told she was never going to graduate. Now, she said she continues to see this negativity directed toward her child during school meetings like parent-teacher conferences.

“It’s the same story over and over,” Scotti said. “That’s one thing that’s echoed from my own experience. It takes a real toll because those messages are internalized.” 

Last year, children with disabilities struggled to buy tickets to the homecoming dance, according to Scotti. 

The school prevented students with multiple tardies from attending the dance and other extracurricular activities, which Scotti said disproportionately impacted those who had Individualized Education Programs. They added that current ETHS systems, like its attendance policy, primarily center exclusion. 

Evanston resident Chris White’s child attends the ETHS Therapeutic Day School, an off-campus day school for students eligible for special education services.  

White said their child has always experienced difficulties in accessing school resources. They worked with Scotti and other community members to voice concerns at a school board meeting.

“She has the lived experience,” White said. “She gets it. She’s good at pulling people together.” 

Evanston resident and parent Karla Thomas, who is a SESP graduate student, said Scotti takes an intersectional approach to race and disability. 

“(Scotti) is a disability advocate but somebody who will not try to pit that disability work against the racial work,” Thomas said. “(They can) help shine a spotlight on the realities of kids with disabilities who are kids of color.”

In past years, multiple students have brought handguns to ETHS, raising safety concerns. Some parents have proposed installing metal detectors, but Scotti opposes this. 

They said having metal detectors wouldn’t work from a practical perspective. Instead, they said the school should look at deeper issues because students don’t feel safe at school. 

“You have to look to build safer communities — not just at the high school,” Scotti said. “We need more social workers. We need more support for the students. We need to be making partnerships with the community.” 

Scotti also said ETHS’ current gender support plans need change.

ETHS students need parental consent to request to change their name or pronouns, even though Chicago Public Schools doesn’t have this requirement. There’s no reason for ETHS to have different policies, Scotti said. She added that she would ensure students who don’t have parental support can access name and pronoun change.

White said Scotti is passionate about advocating for students with disabilities and is someone who can fight for “the things we need.”

“I absolutely trust her as someone to represent me on the school board,” White said. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @JessicaMa2025