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Black principals call for investigation of Chicago school district after they were fired from their jobs

<i>WLS</i><br/>Abdul Muhammad speaks during a news conference on July 7 in Chicago. Activists in Chicago are calling for an investigation after Chicago Public Schools fired at least seven of the district’s Black principals over the 2022-2023 school year.
WLS
Abdul Muhammad speaks during a news conference on July 7 in Chicago. Activists in Chicago are calling for an investigation after Chicago Public Schools fired at least seven of the district’s Black principals over the 2022-2023 school year.

By Meron Moges-Gerbi, CNN

(CNN) — Activists in Chicago are calling for an investigation after Chicago Public Schools fired at least seven of the district’s Black principals over the 2022-2023 school year.

Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump is representing principals Abdul Muhammad, Gerald Morrow, and Kimberly Gibson, who said they were wrongfully terminated.

“If it happens once, it’s an incident. It happens twice, it’s a coincidence. But when it happens, three times, four times, five times, six times, seven times it is a pattern and practice of discrimination against Black principals,” Attorney Ben Crump said during a news conference on Thursday.

Crump said they are urging elected leaders to intervene and give the principals “due process.”

Troy LaRaviere, president of the Chicago Principals & Administrators Association, said there have been at least seven Black principals fired from Chicago Public Schools. The group is asking the school district to issue an official apology and to reinstate the principals impacted, he said.

The group is also calling on the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division as well as the mayor’s office to investigate the matter.

LaRaviere confirmed to CNN that Muhammad was removed from his job in March, Morrow was removed in December of last year, and Gibson’s contract was terminated in February.

So far, few details have been provided as to why the educators were removed from their positions.

In a statement to CNN, Chicago Public Schools said they are committed to providing a diverse school staff for students and are confident about the decisions made by district leaders.

It released data to CNN that 44% of public school principals are Black, while 32% are White, and 18% are Latinx.

“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,” reads the statement.

In a letter to parents, given to CNN by the school board, Muhammad’s removal was announced, but it does not specify a reason.

“Today, Friday, March 31, CPS removed Abdul Muhammad from his principal duties at Lindblom effective immediately due to an investigation that substantiated findings against Mr. Muhammad. He has been reassigned to the Network 16 Office,” the letter said.

The school board says that the investigation is continuing.

“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 school’s statement said.

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