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News :: Human Rights
Illinois Students Pressured by High School to ID 'Ringleader' of Anti-War Sit-In
07 Nov 2007
As national outrage mounts against the threatened expulsion of dozens of high school students in the wake of a antiwar sit-in at Morton West High School in Berwyn, Illinois, parents who have attended private meetings with their suspended students and school officials report that their students were offered reduced punishments only if they signed a confession that singled out a student as the organizer of the protest.
"How can I drop the suspension if you don't single out who was the ring leader of this
disruption," was what one school official told Joshua Rodriguez, a senior who is facing expulsion along with his brother David, a freshman.

Danny Rodriguez, the boys' father did not receive an answer when he asked if this confession could be used against his son, so he did not allow his son to sign it. David and Joshua Rodriguez have been suspended for 10 days and were served with expulsion papers.

Other parents report the same senario in their suspension appeals meeting with school authorities.

Also today, all Morton West households received a letter from school principal, John Lucas. The letter states that "On Thursday there was a minor protest at Morton West that involved about thirty-five (35) students. This disturbance was non-violent and was a protest against the War in Iraq."

The letter goes on to thank teachers, staff and administrators "for maintaining order" and thanks "the majority of students for not joining in the school disruption and for realizing that their education is more important than disrupting school."

The letter still maintains that there are only 25 students were the core of the demontrators and states, that these students refused to leave the cafeteria when told and "as a result of this gross disobedience and disruption of the school day, many of these students have been suspended for a number of school days and many of these have been referred for disciplinary action that will include explusion from school."

Parents of the demonstrators are wondering why, if it was just a minor protest and that "Throughout the day classes were held, lunches were served, and order was maintained," why are the students being expelled?


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