After staging a sit-in at the school cafeteria, and refusing to move, they were asked to take the protest outside so as to not disrupt classes, and were told they would not be in any more trouble than for cutting class without an approved excuse.
Some 25 of those students are now facing expulsion for their protest.
Read the story from the Chicago Sun-Times.
Blog coverage at C&L and Once Upon a Time. Online petition here.
I wrote the following email to the superintendent:
I was shocked today to see mention of Morton West in the news and on the political blogs that I read. I remember Morton West as a place where students were respected, the expression of their beliefs encouraged, and civic-minded students were praised - even when the instructors and administration did not agree with their views. Imagine my surprise to see the story about 25 students who were peacefully protesting, and now face expulsion.
I went to Morton West high school until 1997, and it wasn't like this then - I am very saddened that things have changed so much there. There was a point where this kind of demonstration would not have gotten this response - at worst, their parents would have been called regarding the disrupting of classes, but no expulsions would have occurred or been threatened, and certainly no charges filed with police. When did this change? Indeed, I had a history/government instructor, Dr. Skoda, who would have lauded the students for standing up for their beliefs and rights - though he would most certainly would have disagreed completely with those views. He and I always disagreed on nearly every issue, but he always respected me for peacefully expressing my views.
Please, Mr. Nowakowski, don't expel these students. Don't punish peacefully protesting students beyond the Saturday detention for missing class without an excuse.