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‘It Is a Pattern and Practice of Discrimination’: Attorney Ben Crump, Education Leaders Cry Foul, Demand DOJ Probe After Seven Black Chicago Principals Fired In One School Year

Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump and the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association are calling for the Department of Justice to investigate Chicago Public Schools after seven Black principals were fired in one year.

Crump was joined by Father Michael Pfleger, members of the Rainbow PUSH coalition, and leaders from the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association for a news conference held outside of CPS headquarters on Thursday morning.

(Left) Abdul Muhammad is one of the seven principals that were fired. (Right) Ben Crump speaking at the press conference. (Photos: @ABC7Eyewitness/ Youtube screenshot)

The prominent Black leaders are accusing the district of discrimination and corruption. The group said CPS used substandard investigative tactics with false statements to fire the principals.

“When it happens three times, four times, five times, six times, seven times, it is a pattern and practice of discrimination against Black principals,” Crump said at the press conference. “And people of goodwill all over Chicago and all over America have been calling me saying ‘thank you for standing up for our Black educators.’ I mean, they are the unsung heroes, every day.”

In March, Abdul Muhammad was let go after a text message alleged that he was not needed because he was part of the Black Muslim group, his supporters claim. He was the principal at Lindblom Math and Science Academy.

“It was stated in a text that went out to staff persons that we did not need him there because he was part of the Black group of Muslims,” said Lynn White, who was chairperson of the selection committee at Lindblom at the time of Muhammad’s appointment.

CPS also released Hyde Park Academy Principal Antonio Ross last spring but refused to give any details about his release.

“There is no due process whatsoever,” said Troy LaRaviere, Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. “We need an overhaul to make sure the system does what it needs to do.”

He also added that CPS made cases against the former principals from fabricated reports and false claims.

“It is that report, a report that tried hard, that CPS tried hard not to release, that exposes the call of the racist smears, the racist system that smears the fames and persecutes principles for having the audacity to hold the system and anyone in it accountable for serving Black students,” said LaRaviere.

CPS reported at the start of the school year that more than 60 percent of the 57 principals are Black and Latino. The district released a statement on Thursday afternoon.

“The District has comprehensive procedures in place to thoroughly investigate allegations of staff misconduct, ensuring our employees are afforded proper due process, and make fair employment decisions. Such investigations take time and preclude us from providing ongoing and detailed updates, however, we are confident in the decisions made by the leaders of our District,” the statement read in part.

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