Chicago Teachers Union Under Fire For Urging Students to Attend Political Rally During School Hours

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)  is under fire for encouraging and possibly busing students to attend an upcoming political rally during school hours ahead of the March 19 primary election.

According to Fox News, on Monday, CTU Vice President Jackson Potter sent out a notice for students of voting age about an upcoming rally to lead up to cast their first vote for the Illinois primary and for Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s tax increase referendum.

“On March 15, Chicago Teachers Union is partnering with Chicago Votes, La Casa Norte, and Bring Chicago Home to throw the biggest celebration of youth participating in democracy Chicago has seen in years. On the morning of March 15, students will gather at CTU Headquarters & hear from candidates/political organizers, collaborate with young voters from other schools, & participate in engaging events including art, music, and dance,” Potter wrote.

He added, “The event will culminate with a Parade to the Polls, where students will march to an early voting site—celebrating voting in their first election & making their voices heard along the way!”

Illinois Policy Institute immediately filed an ethics complaint with the Chicago Public Schools Ethics Office and
and Chicago Public Schools Office of Inspector General.

The complaint:

To whom it may concern:

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has announced a “Student Power Forum” taking place on Friday, March 15, which seemingly violates provisions of the Chicago Public Schools Code of Ethics.

In an email announcing the event, CTU Vice President Jackson Potter noted the union is “partnering” with Bring Chicago Home, culminating in a “Parade to the Polls, where students will march to an early voting site.”

Bring Chicago Home is the leading political advocacy organization campaigning in favor of Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s $100 million real estate transfer tax increase referendum, which appears on the March 19 ballot. The union has contributed at least $200,000 to Bring Chicago Home. The union and its affiliates are Johnson’s largest campaign financiers, and the union is his former employer.

In his email, Potter writes, “to get involved, the only thing your school needs to do is provide the students!” He then asks teachers to “organize a group of voting age students…” to attend the event.

Per the CPS Code of Ethics, “Employees are permitted to engage in Political Activity on a voluntary basis during non-work hours, vacation, or personal time. Employees are not permitted to engage in Political Activity during any other Board compensated time.”

Political activity is defined as: “Preparing for, organizing, or participating in any political meeting, political rally, political demonstration, or other political event.”

By asking teachers to prepare for and organize students to participate in the Student Power Forum, which is occurring during school hours and organized in part by a political campaign (Bring Chicago Home), it is clear the union is asking its members to violate the CPS Code of Ethics and possibly other state or city provisions.

We request your prompt attention to this matter.

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