Attorney Crump calls for “due process” in firing of Black principals including public hearings

Photo caption: Attorney Ben Crump holding racist email about Dr. Kimberly Gibson.

Calling for due process, famed Attorney Ben Crump calls for public hearings to clear the names of seven Black principals. He says CPS officials have fired and smeared their names with “82 lies and misrepresentations” that overall Crump labeled a “pattern and practice of discrimination against Black principals.”

“We are asking for due process,” said Crump during a lengthy press conference held Thursday, July 6th, outside the CPS headquarters, 42 W. Madison. He is asking for elected officials to hold public hearings to allow the fired Black principals “to show they have been falsely accused so they can clear their good name and get back what they love to do and that is to educate our children,” Crump told reporters.

After praying, Father Michael L. Pfleger, who has joined Crump and other attorneys to get fired Lindblom principal Abdul Muhammad, a recipient of the Teacher-of-the-Year Award and nominated twice for the Teacher Apple Award, restored to his principal position. Pfleger said they came to demand justice and truth. “We want CPS to care about the children first.”

Father Pfleger read a litany of achievements made by Mr. Muhammad who stopped the student fighting, peace in the hallways, access to better education, “and they tried to assassinate him inspired by racist individuals who can’t stand having a strong Black man in leadership.

“You can’t keep saying, CPS, that you want more Black teachers while you keep getting rid of Black leadership in this city,” Pfleger said. “We want you to do what is best for the children. This man served, educated, disciplined and respected the children. Now put him back into the position he deserves so he can lead those children.”

Crump said his grandmother asked him what is worse than a lie and she told him, “that is to tell the truth and nobody believes you. I think what is worse than that is not being able to tell the truth because they shut you down.”

Crump was referring to the time when Troy LaRaviere, president of the Chicago Principals & Administrator’s Association, tried to present the facts about Abdul Muhammad at a Board of Education meeting but his microphone was turned off. Someone grabbed and ushered him out of the CPS meeting. He said Abdul Muhammad’s accusers were given “undivided attention by the seven white teachers who said he was a bad principal.” Crump said CPS refused to allow those (28 people) who thought the fired principal was great.

Referring to the 82 documented “lies and misrepresentations” against Abdul Muhammad, Crump said, “It was a conspiracy to get rid of this Black principal for doing his job too good by educating our children.”

During a July 10, 2023 interview on the WVON 1690AM radio talk show “On The Case” with host Chinta Strausberg, Attorney As’ad Alim Muhammad said fired Lindblom Math & Science Academy Abdul Muhammad confirmed that several teachers had billed the CPS for teaching students during summer school last year when the building was closed. “He was fired because he held those teachers accountable and they didn’t like it,” Muhammad said.

Besides LaRaviere, Crump was joined by fired Black principals Abdul Muhammad, Gerald Morrow and Dr. Kimberly Gibson. Also present were Mark Dreyer, a teacher, Ishmael Muhammad, national assistant minister to Minister Louis Farrakhan, Attorney Sa’ad Alim Muhammad, Lynn White, who coordinated the principal selection at Lindblom where Mr. Abdul Muhammad once worked, and many others.

LaRaviere said if you are a Black principal and believe in the written rule of supervising, coaching and holding a predominately white teacher force accountable, CPS/CEO Pedro Martinez and his leadership team will “unleash a system on them that will smear their good names and replace them with someone who will stay in their place.”

That place, LaRaviere said, is one that is “racially biased and a bigoted system carved out for Black people” one he said is clear that Blacks cannot rule over white teachers. He wants Mayor Johnson to fire all of the white seven teachers who led a campaign to fire Muhammad including Martinez, Kelly Tarrant, the athletic director who allegedly stole school money, and Devon LaRosa, chief of Network 16, who didn’t want Muhammad hired.

Lynn White, chairperson of the Principal’s Selection Committee who coordinated the selection process with  her Local School Council (LAC) at Lindblom Math & Science Academy, said there were two candidates with one dropping out leaving Muhammad as the final selection.

White blew the whistle on them fingering LaRosa who called and asked her to find more candidates. She told him that is not how the process works and that they were going to move forward.

White got a call from Kishasha Williams-Ford, the director of the LAC Relations, “who told me I didn’t have to settle on Mr. Muhammad and that I could find an interim principal.” White told her they were going to vote for Muhammad.

However, before the vote was taken, White said Williams-Ford “sent out an email to the whole council” claiming that the way they held their meetings were “insufficient.”

In the middle of the meeting, White said Williams-Ford arrived uninvited “yelling at us trying to tell them what to do other than voting for Muhammad.” Williams-Ford wanted her candidate to be chosen, but White told her that her friend was not qualified. “She told us she would do whatever she had to do to make sure her friend was chosen.”

White postponed the vote until the following week. However, in the interim, she said there were teachers distributing information against Muhammad with one teacher emailing, “They did not want a Muslim running this school because they don’t like white people. They did not like gay people and they did not like Jews and did not want somebody like that in their school.”

In spite of all of that, White said they voted for Muhammad, a 29-year veteran educator who worked 25 years with CPS. She said the anti-Muhammad campaign began before and after he was hired.

Dreyer, a white parent of a student who graduated from Lindblom, criticized the seven white teachers who organized against Abdul Muhammad. “It’s bad enough to discriminate against somebody’s religion, but how much worse is it for white teachers to come to the heart of West Englewood and discriminate against a fine worker.

“If they are not OK with (working with a Muslim) and have a problem forming a relationship with Black Muslims, then what are they doing teaching in a Black neighborhood?” Asked Dreyer, referring to his white peers. He credited Mr. Muhammad for stopping the fights and raising the test scores at Lindblom. He is angry that CPS has yet to tell the parents why Muhammad was removed from office.

An educator for more than 32 years, Morrow is another Black principal who was removed from the Dunbar Career Academy seven months ago and he still doesn’t know why. When he complained about the lack of viable programs in the school, he was fired.

A tearful Gibson is now wheelchair bound suffering from the stress of being fired from the Harriet Tubman Elementary School. This is the school that was originally named after a white, Swiss racist, Louis Agassiz. It was renamed Harriet Tubman, a Black slave who escaped and led others to freedom. Gibson was the first Black principal after the school was renamed.

Dr. Gibson said she received an email that said, “We finally got you. U won’t be here long Nigga.” Gibson said, “This is systemic racism, a hate crime.” She filed a complaint with the school and with the police department to no avail. While she was in the hospital, she said her four-year contract was terminated.

According to LaRaviere, the charges against Dr. Gibson are false. He said she was charged with “intimidation, inadequate reporting of student safety issues, retaliation, lack of timely response, failure to address bullying and bias-based behavior, questionable hiring prices and preferential treatment.”

Ald. David Moore (17th), who was not at the press conference, said he is in favor of the Chicago City Council Education Committee, chaired by Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th), holding public hearings on the firing of Black principals. “I am highly concerned about this. I will get together with Ald. Taylor. We have to call for hearings on this.”

Calling for justice for the Black principals, LaRaviere listed several demands to reform and transform CPS. He’s calling for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights Division to investigate the abusive and discriminatory patterns and practices by CPS and develop a consent decrees to stop those practices.

He also wants the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and the Illinois State Board of Education to hold hearings on the “systems within CPS that disproportionately target Black principals” and try to manipulate LSC’s to proceed against standard principal selection rules.

To Mayor Johnson, LaRaviere said they are not blaming him for these “systemic problems” because he had nothing to do with these firings. However, They do want him to direct the Board of Education to return the fired Black principals to their positions and to issue a public apology including to the children.

He wants the mayor to have the Board of Education hire an outside firm to investigate all departments involved in the illegal firing of Black principals and to suspend all board members involved including Martinez.

CPS officials are denying allegations of racism or targeting Black principals. “This year, roughly half or 49 percent of our new teachers are Black or Latinx compared to 33 percent of all new teachers in 2017,” CPS said in a statement.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

This post was originally published on this site