Austin Poly Tech students fight for fired teachers

May 26, 2011
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By Meribah Knight of the Chicago News Cooperative

Almost one week after dozens of Austin Polytechnical Academy students were suspended for protesting the firing of their teachers, a group from the school took their fight to the Chicago Board of Education Wednesday.

Wearing a red Austin Polytech sweatshirt with “Save Austin’s Teachers” written on the back in black marker, junior Cuauhtemoc Mendoza, 16, used his two minutes of public comment at the board meeting to explain why more than 100 students staged a walkout last Monday and a sit-in Thursday after hearing that a quarter of their teachers were being let-go.

Mendoza and 35 other students were suspended over the protests.

“The students, in so many words, were bamboozled,” said Mendoza, who spoke on behalf of the students who protested the dismissals. “These actions are not that of a fair and good system.”

Two weeks ago staff and students at Austin Polytech were informed that interim principal Fabby Williams had fired seven of the West Side school’s 30 teachers. Five of the dismissed teachers were given the district’s “do not hire” designation—making them ineligible to be hired by CPS again. The Chicago News Cooperative first reported the dismissals and student suspensions on Friday.

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This article is part 6 of 6 in the series Learning Tools: A Look Inside Austin Polytechnical Academy


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