LINCOLN PARK — Hundreds of Lincoln Park High School students walked out of class Friday morning in support of teachers who will lose their jobs next year when the school transitions to a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate program.
Eight teachers at the high school who had to reapply for their jobs under the new program were originally told they could continue working there, but those job offers were rescinded last month.
Students said they saw teachers in tears after hearing that they wouldn't be getting their jobs back, and decided to stage the walkout.
Nearly the entire school walked out, except for about three or four students per class, according to those at the protest. The school has nearly 2,000 students.
"They are some of the best teachers in the school," said freshman Jarren Moody.
Students speculated the cuts might have been cost-saving measures, as many of the teachers fired are veterans of the school.
"A lot of the teachers were crying. They love their jobs," said freshman Lizzie Cornelison.
One of the teachers, Sarah Khan, was leaning out from her second-floor classroom waving to hundreds of students cheering for her during the walkout.
Many students have been petitioning Principal Michael Boraz, who made the decision to let the teachers go.
"We're not just a bunch of stoners who wanted to walk out of school. We actually care," said senior Beatrice Ebijimi.
Boraz was outside during the protest, but refused to comment on the situation. He later released a statement via email.
"As principal of Lincoln Park High School, it’s imperative to make the decisions that are in the best interests of all our students and their academic success," the statement said. "We look forward to launching the wall-to-wall IB program this fall that builds upon our successful IB diploma program and will provide all students a quality, rigorous curriculum that lays the groundwork for their success."
Chicago Public Schools officials said that 120 of the 128 teachers at the high school were offered positions as part of the IB progam.
Teachers must undergo further training to teach in the IB program, and principals of the schools that will be transitioning to wall-to-wall IB programs will select the teachers for their schools, according to CPS.