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Students Protest Ouster Of Proviso West Principal

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Proviso West High School

Proviso West High School in Hillside (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 1/24/2011 at 5:45 p.m.

HILLSIDE, Ill. (CBS) – A shakeup is rocking students at Proviso West High School, one of the Chicago area’s largest.

Top administrators at the west suburban school district were suddenly escorted from their offices. Now, some of them are considering legal action, and student and parents are talking protests and petitions.

The district has had one of the worst academic records in the state for years. Now, district administrators are recommending major changes. To some, their timing is suspect, CBS 2′s Dorothy Tucker reports.

 Principal Alexis Wallace, a 30-year veteran, confirmed to CBS2 that she was escorted from the building by security guards last week.

 “It’s like she vanished into thin air,” Jennifer Pettiford, a Proviso West High School senior, said. “(She’s) a true role model, and just to have her taken from the shool like that – it’s sad.”

Wallace is one of four top administrators facing changes. She says her assistant principal was demoted to counselor, and the district’s assistant superintendent of finance, Nikita Johnson, was removed from her office. She says Milton Patch, the principal of Proviso East, was told he would be out the end of the year.

In a statement, school board president Chris Welch said there was a need for “major restructuring” to improve the district’s test scores. Only 18 percent of the students meet or exceed state standards. 

Wallace, though, accuses the board of forcing her out because she “disagreed with some of their academic and fiscal policies.”

Whatever the reasons, seniors say the timing is bad because the new principal can’t write their college recommendations.

“How is she supposed to recommend us to a school and she doesn’t even know us?” asked Michael Hodges, Proviso West High School senior.

Parents of seniors, such as Tamara Bowen, have the same concerns.

“I want to ask them ‘Why, why would you disrupt in the middle of the school year?’” Bowen said.

Parents and students were expected to voice their concerns at a special meeting Monday evening called by the Proviso Township School Board.

The board is also expected to discuss whether those forced out of their current jobs will be transferred to others.

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