Oak Park students stage sit-in, say school staff suspended for supporting protests

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OAK PARK, Ill. — Students at Oak Park and River Forest High School staged a sit-in protest Monday to show support for staff members they say were wrongly placed on administrative leave for supporting student protests.

According to students, around 100 of them held a sit-in to demand the school issue an apology, and reinstate teacher Anthony Clark and aid Shoneize Teynolds, identified as the secretary to an assistant principal.

Students say they were told the staffers were suspended for organizing a student march and sit-in over the last couple of weeks, but insist young people actually coordinated the efforts.

In a statement, the district said it can’t talk about employment status, but did confirm faculty members were placed on leave after a student march last week. District officials were not doing any on-camera interviews Monday.

Oak Park and River Forest High School has been in the news this year after racist graffiti was found in a bathroom, and swastikas were airdropped to students’ phones during an assembly. Just as school started this year, it was featured in a documentary about race in American schools.

According to a student organizer, the two staffers were go-to faculty members for many in the school. Organizers said district officials told them the pair couldn’t be reinstated until they completed an investigation.

Students participating in the sit-in could face disciplinary action for missing class. Organizers said they planned to hold a rally outside the school Monday evening.

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