CPS explains faculty shake-up after Lincoln Park HS students walk out over basketball team suspension

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CHICAGO — CPS held a meeting Monday night after a group of students at Lincoln Park High School walked out of class Monday morning after the removal of several faculty members and the suspension of the varsity boys basketball season.

On Friday, Chicago Public Schools removed Interim Principal John Thuet and Assistant Principal Michelle Brumfield over "multiple allegations of serious misconduct involving the athletics program," according to a letter from CPS. A dean and a coach were also reassigned.

At a parent meeting Monday night, school officials outlined that the allegations being investigated include sexual misconduct, failure to follow sexual misconduct reporting procedures, repeated and ongoing retaliation against potential witnesses, athletic recruiting violations and financial misconduct related to athletic programs.

Early last month, CPS removed head basketball coach Pat Gordon in connection with an overnight team trip to Detroit on Jan. 2. CPS is investigating claims a student had sex on that trip. The trip was not sponsored by the school.

CPS said that investigation uncovered a botched reporting of the initial allegation and alleged retaliation against potential witnesses by fellow students.

The January incident follows the Jan. 25 announcement of an allegation that another staff member "engaged inappropriately with  student."

At the meeting, officials said the girls basketball program is also being investigated for alleged sexual misconduct.

"This situation could not be tolerated,” Dr. Laura LeMone said.

Monday morning, students walked out of class in protest of the removal of the popular administrators.

Students such as basketball co-captain Ismail Habib said the impact of canceling a season extends way beyond the court. The students who organized the walkout believe the basketball team should be allowed to play while CPS looks into the allegations. Some parents told WGN they think the actions taken by CPS were drastic.

"...We don't know who was involved in the misconduct or what happened with the basketball team," Rich Lenkov, a parent, said. "From my perspective, and a lot of the parents', these kids need the season to progress to college and go on with their lives.”

After Monday night’s explanation, CPS’ decision is still being questioned.

“Mr. Thuet and Ms. Brumfield are the type of administrators CPS should be trying to attract,” a parent said. “We finally have them and CPS is taking them away."

A player from the basketball team started a Change.org petition to reverse the team's suspension.

Parents said the devastation is being felt as they defend those who are now gone.

“For years, CPS has received complaints,” a parent said. “If CPS was so concerned, where were you before Mr. Thuet, Ms. Brumfield and Mr. Johnson?"

Read the letter sent to students on from CPS:

Letter sent to LPHS students from CPS by WGN Web Desk on Scribd

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