KENWOOD — After protesting the administration of Principal Beatty-Sevier for the third time this year, King College Prep students say they are still unhappy with the response from CPS.
“It was bull crap,” said senior and former class president Caleob Mitchell. “I feel like she has done enough that it should prompt an investigation from CPS.”
On Thursday, nearly 100 students at King refused to go to class. They demanded Beatty-Sevier’s removal, citing policies they say are punitive rather than restorative.
Mitchell said the only changes after speaking with CPS representatives for most of the day was that a velvet barrier was removed from outside Beatty-Sevier’s office. Mitchell said that the velvet rope had been used to keep students out of the administrator’s office area.
Some students — who asked not to be named due to fear of retaliation — told Block Club Chicago they stopped protesting after receiving more threats from the administration. Students were told they could lose scholarships and face other sanctions if they did not end their protests.
“I retreated because I have too much to lose,” said one student.
Neither CPS nor Beatty-Sevier responded for comment, despite multiple requests.
Police were present during the protest and administrators knew it was coming. The day before, Beatty-Sevier held an impromptu assembly warning students that if they participated in the sit-in they would be banned from attending a senior trip to Dave & Busters and they would lose their membership in the National Honor Society, people at the assembly said.
Now, students are regrouping and deciding what is next.
“I’m really upset,” Mitchell said. “We aren’t done yet.”
Parent and current LSC member Natasha Erskine said the current school council is also frustrated with the district’s response to their concerns about Beatty-Sevier.
Erskine said that there has been almost no communication between Beatty-Sevier’s administration and parents. She said that they have yet to get any sort of notification in writing that describes the new policy changes implemented by the principal.
“We should be focusing on restorative practices, and her repeated response is to punish, and that concerns me,” Erskine said.
Erskine said that the LSC has felt largely ignored by CPS and LSC member Cassandra Bogan agrees. They have sent more than 50 letters to Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade and Network Chief Erick Pruitt, the women said.
“It’s an understatement to say I’ve been ignored by CPS,” Bogan said.
CPS would not make McDade and Pruitt available for comment, or answer direct questions about Beatty-Sevier from Block Club Chicago.