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Morton West High School Expulsion
by Chicago SDS, November 05, 2007

Over 30 anti-war protestors at Morton West High School in Berwyn face expulsion for a demonstration at the school on Thursday. Scores of Students Face Expulsion Due to Sit-in Berwyn, IL

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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.

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.

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:
www.jsmortonhs.com/news/contentview.asp

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

Dr. Ben Nowakowski, Superintendent
District 201
2423 South Austin, Cicero, IL 60804
bnowakowski (at) jsmorton.org

(708) 222-5702

Mr. Lucas, Principal
Morton West High School
2400 S. Home Ave.
Berwyn, IL 60402
jlucas (at) west.jsmorton.org

708-222-5901

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

708-802-1863

For the rest of the Board Members see:
www.jsmortonhs.com/board/default.asp

For parent contact:
Pam Winstead 708-749-3163 , pwinstead (at) clearchannel.com

Alma Moran 708-717-4202 , qtalmita (at) yahoo.com

Adam Szwarek 847-587-8849 , tsq9743 (at) aol.com

Students Threatened With Expulsion after Morton West Sit-in
04 Nov 07

Nineteen Morton West High School Students were threatened with expulsion after staging a sit-in to protest the Iraq War. You can read more about the event here: http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/80059/index.php
We are urging all student and community organizations to protest the excessive actions taken by the school administrators and to give us permission to attach your organization’s name to the petition below. In order to have your organization placed on the petition, please contact me at cbrenz@gmail.com.

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In Defense of the Morton West Students

We are writing in defense of the nineteen students who now face excessive disciplinary actions at the hands of various Morton West school administrators. Our sympathies lie with the courageous and moral struggle that the students have taken up, and with their parents who still support them. The struggle for a peaceful and just society absent of war should not be met with punishment, but should be supported by the community as a whole, especially from within the educational setting. Furthermore, It is our firm belief that an injury to freedom for students anywhere is an injury to freedom for students everywhere. This is why we urge all Morton West administrators to drop all disciplinary action against the said students, and to remove any indications of said events from their permanent records.

Columbia College Chicago Students for a Democratic Society

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