Reporting Mike Krauser
CHICAGO (CBS) – About 500 students at King College Prep High School in the North Kenwood neighborhood staged a sit-in on Thursday, demanding the new principal; and an end to new rules that limit their access to the school, its labs, tutors, and teachers after normal school hours.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the 500 students at King College Prep were pushing back against new principal Shontae Higginbottom’s new rules, and more.
The students said, when she took over, Higginbottom imposed lots of new rules restricting access to the building, its computer lab, and the teachers and staff outside school hours.
“She locks all the doors, like almost all the time. You literally have no access to the school. So, in the morning, she locks them, and you can’t get up there until 7:45,” junior Braxton Nunnally said. “After school, she locks the doors right when the bell rings, so once you leave the school, you can’t go back up, no matter what you have. If you have a special activity, or you’re into sports or anything, you can’t go back upstairs.”
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He said students approached Higginbottom “as civilized kids” and talked to her about their concerns. Parents also contacted Higginbottom about their concerns.
“My mom, she was emailing her about some concerns that she had as far as the rules and stuff, and things being unfair, and none of that got resolved,” Nunnally added.
Students and parents also said Higginbottom “rubbed people the wrong way” when she started, by making inappropriate jokes about her last name.
Senior Sebastian Moore said, “She said the only time she was on bottom was when she was under her husband.”
Sebastian’s mother, Sesalee Moore, stood by the students’ decision to stage the sit-in.
“They’re saying ‘we want to be heard.’ What’s the problem?” she said. “And, you know this guy who was up the street and now he’s in the White House? This is what he was influencing them for. They are staunch supporters of change and hope. They believe in that stuff.”
During the sit-in, a teacher came out and provided a failing report card Higginbottom received at her previous school.
In an email, a Chicago Public Schools spokesperson said, “Dialogue between CPS and students is an important component of a school culture that promotes learning. CPS met with a group of students at King College Prep High School this morning to address their concerns. We will ensure that the lines of communication with these students continue to be open as we move forward.”