Two CPS teachers could be fired for pushing student protests against General Iron’s move.

Two Chicago public school teachers face firing for their role in leading high school students to protest General Iron’s proposed Southeast Side move, an action they say The union says it’s retaliation for embarrassing Mayor Lori Lightfoot during years of debate.

George Washington High School teachers Chuck Stark and Lauren Bianchi were two of the most visible activists fighting against the planned relocation of a metal shredding operation along the Calumet River from Lincoln Park to East 116th Street.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Board of Education will decide whether to accept the district’s recommendation to fire the two teachers.

Several students from the high school — located just a half-mile from the newly constructed shading facility — participated in the protest. After years of protests, Lightfoot management in February rejected a permit that would have allowed the operation to open.

“The investigation found several significant violations of policy by teachers, including violations of safety policies related to student transportation,” CPS said in a statement. The teachers’ actions revealed “repeated instances of poor judgment and bias in their teaching roles and faculty advisor roles.”

However, Thad Goodchild, an attorney for the Chicago Teachers Union, called the investigation, described in a more than 400-page report, “a witch hunt” and “a sad example of vindictive action by the mayor’s office.” “

Goodchild said he believes the mayor took actions against the teachers. Without going into specifics, he said the report focused on “grotesquely technical” policies and did not include the crimes that led to the shootings. Neither CPS nor the union will release an investigative report.

A spokesman for Lightfoot did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At a news conference last week, Lightfoot reacted angrily when federal officials cited the city’s planned move to relocate General Irons from a largely white neighborhood to a predominantly Latino community as discrimination. . The Department of Housing and Urban Development said this pattern of racial discrimination occurred before and during Lightfoot’s time in office.

Stark, a biology teacher, and Bianchi, a sociology teacher, say CPS previously asked for their input on teaching environmental racism and student civic engagement.

Both General Irons were in the thick of the protests.

Stark participated in a month-long hunger strike last year that gained national attention. Bianchi was one of four people arrested in December during a protest outside the home of Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Alison Arvadi. Teachers participated in several marches and other demonstrations.

“This news comes as a shock because none of us have done anything wrong,” Bianchi said in an interview.

Starc added: “It definitely hurts. … I feel like I’ve been unfairly targeted.

Both teachers taught at the Southeast Side school for four years.

Bianchi also publicly criticized CPS last month for providing critical care in George Washington.

“Why does the most powerful man in town feel threatened by two school teachers?” Stark asked.

Bianchi said he believes Lightfoot is trying to “send a chilling message” to Chicago public school teachers not to engage in such activities.

Teacher Lauren Bianchi, far right, is seen with George Washington High School teachers and a student protesting the planned site on the southeast side of General Irons.

Photo provided by Oscar Sanchez

Brett Chase’s reporting on the environment and public health is made possible by a grant from the Chicago Community Trust.

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