Monday, November 05, 2007

Chicago Students Suspended and Faced Police Harrassment Over Anti-War Protests

Chicago H.S. Students Face Expulsion Following Antiwar Sit-In
By Chicago Indymedia - November 4, 2007 | News

Click on the above image to sign the “In Defense of the Morton West Antiwar Students petition”

Berwyn, IL - November 2, 2007. Over 70 students participated in a sit-in against the Iraq War on All Saint’s Day, Thursday, November 1st. It began third hour when dozens of students gathered quietly in the lunchroom at Morton West High School and refused to leave. The administrators and police became involved immediately and locked down the school for a half hour after class ended. Students report that they were promised that there would be no charges besides cutting classes if they took their protest outside so as not to disturb the school day. The students complied, and were led to a corner outside the cafeteria where they sang songs and held signs while classes resumed.

Despite a police line set up between the protestors and the student body, many other students joined the demonstration. Organizers say they chose November first because it is the Christian holy day called the feast of All Saints and a national day of peace. They wrote a letter and delivered it to Superintendent, Dr. Ben Nowakowski who was present at the time, stating the reason for their protest.

Deans, counselors and even the Superintendent tried to change the minds of a few, mainly those students with higher GPA scores to abandon the protest. The school called the homes of many of the protestors. Those whose parents arrived before the end of school and took their students home, or left before the protest ended at the final bell, received 3-5 days suspension. All others, an estimated 37 received 10 days suspension and expulsion papers. Parents report that Nowakowski stated those who are seventeen will also face police charges.

Sign the “In Defense of the Morton West Antiwar Students petition”

Parents who are frantically trying to spare their child’s expulsion flooded the school yesterday to file appeals on the matter. So far, Superintendent Nowakowski has held firm on the punishments. They are expected to find out the results of the appeals on Tuesday. Parents and students report and the school’s videotape shown to some of the parents confirms that the students were non-violent in their action and there was no damage to property.

The protest came on the heels of a recent incident on October 15th, when a student reported hearing that another student had a gun on campus. The story of the eyewitness was deemed unreliable and the school was not locked down. Later that week (October 19), the Berwyn police, acting on a tip arrested one of the youths originally questioned for gun possession and he allegedly confessed to carrying an unloaded semi-automatic handgun that day. All these issues, plus the expected announcement of whether uniforms will be established in the school should make the next Board of Education meeting on Wednesday at 7:00pm at the Morton East campus very well-attended.

See the link below for the Superintendent’s statement on the matter:

For letters or phone calls of support, please see information below:

Dr. Ben Nowakowski, Superintendent
District 201
2423 South Austin, Cicero, IL 60804
(708) 222-5702

Mr. Lucas, Principal
Morton West High School
2400 S. Home Ave.
Berwyn, IL 60402

Mr. Jeffry Pesek, President
Board of Education, District 201
3145 South 55th Avenue
Cicero, IL 60804

For the rest of the Board Members see:

For parent contact:
Pam Winstead 708-749-3163,

Alma Moran 708-717-4202,

Adam Szwarek 847-587-8849,

Chicago Indymedia:


Thomas Good, Editor
Next Left Notes (NLN)

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