- A Chicago principal was “removed” after a student wore an antisemitic costume.
- The student wore a German military uniform and did a Nazi salute on stage during a costume contest.
- Pedro Martinez, Chicago Public Schools CEO, said the incident is under investigation.
A Chicago high school principal was removed from her post after a student caused outrage by wearing a Nazi costume to school for Halloween and performing a Nazi salute.
Chicago Public Schools said on Friday that Jones College Prep principal Joseph Powers had been removed from his principal duties pending an investigation into the school’s response to a student who wore a German Nazi army uniform and did a Nazi salute on stage during a costume contest, according to The Chicago Tribune.
The Chicago Teacher’s Union had called for the principal’s dismissal and students at the school were planning to walk out on Monday, The Tribune reported.
The incident comes amid a wave of antisemitic incidents around the country and remarks by celebrities, such as Ye and NBC star Kyrie Irving.
A representative for the school district said that the costume was “widely recognized by many students, staff and members of our broader CPS community as antisemitic,” according to The Tribune.
“This incident caused harm to many students and staff, and it is completely inconsistent with our values as a school district,” Pedro Martinez, CPS chief executive officer said according to The Tribune. “In response, CPS has launched a full investigation into the incident in accordance with our district’s protocols for processing bias-based harm.”
Martinez said Powers had been “removed” from his “principal duties” effective immediately.
Students posted videos of the student in the antisemitic costume to social media on TikTok and Twitter.
—alex (@tmg__alex) November 4, 2022
In an email to parents following the costume contest, Powers called the uniform a “military surplus army uniform,” The Tribune reported.
Staff and students expressed their concerns about the uniform, believing that it represented an expression of antisemitism. Additionally, a video of the costume parade has since appeared on social media.
“I certainly understand and regret the discomfort and harm felt by some members of our school community,” Powers wrote according to The Tribune. “Please be assured that we take the well-being of all students seriously and do not tolerate hateful expressions of any kind. In this situation, it certainly appears this was not the intent of the Halloween costume.”
After backlash grew to his initial email, Powers sent a second email to parents that said the school should have handled the incident with “greater care” and that “we deeply regret the pain that this incident has caused our school community,” The Tribune reported.