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Proviso District 209 Targeting Black and Brown Teachers for Unfair Termination

Four teachers of color are being unfairly targeted by the superintendent in Proviso District 209. Superintendent Henderson is unjustly calling for their termination, a clear act of retaliation against these teachers after a contentious strike earlier this year and following several student-led actions highlighting problems in the district.

Supt. Henderson asserts that teachers are encouraging students to protest and publicize the lack of adequate staff and resources they experience at school every day. This is simply untrue. Instead of addressing the root causes of the district’s shortcomings, Supt. Henderson is attacking teachers and calling for the dismissal of four educators of color – all veteran teachers who are beloved in their classrooms and communities.

In a district that serves a population with 95% Black and Brown students and is suffering a severe teacher and staff shortage, it is irresponsible and detrimental to student learning to retaliate against these individuals.

Teachers and supporters will make comments at the District 209 School Board Meeting tonight, where the board will determine a final decision about the teachers’ employment.

WHAT: Proviso District 209 School Board Meeting, with teachers and supporters available for media interviews between sessions

WHO: Proviso teacher Carissa Gillespie, one of the three Black and Brown teachers up for termination; Proviso Teachers Union President John Wardisiani; Chicago Teachers Union President and IFT Executive Vice President Stacy Davis Gates

WHERE: Proviso Math and Science Academy, 8601 Roosevelt Rd, Forest Park

WHEN: The meeting begins at 5:30 and will go into closed session shortly after. Teachers and supporters will be available for comment at 6:45 PM and after the meeting.

The teachers are represented by the Proviso Teachers Union, an affiliate of the West Suburban Teachers Union, IFT Local 571. The union fully supports these teachers and demands that the school board drop these reckless and unfounded charges so they can get back to their jobs of serving the students of District 209. This action by the superintendent is a clear and purposeful erosion of the collective bargaining agreement and a baseless attack on teachers who are active in their community and union.


The Proviso Teachers Union (PTU) is a council of the West Suburban Teachers Union, Local 571. PTU represents about 300 teachers, librarians, social workers, and counselors in Proviso Township High School District 209. They are affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.


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