BOARDWATCH: Clark, Claypool shut down critics, including Vets for Peace... 'We observed ... that some groups were told to select one speaker from among those who followed the Guidelines... while other groups - especially those pro and con to Noble charter schools, were allowed many speakers...'

[Editor's Note: As Substance has been reporting for several months, the Chicago Board of Eduction has been doing its best to silence anyone who tries to speak at a Board meeting critical of Board policies. While most of those gagged at the September 29, 2015 Board meeting were trying to speak against the massive special education cuts ordered by Forrest Claypool and approved by the Board under President Frank Clark, there were others. One of the groups gagged was Chicago Veterans for Peace, which had two speakers signed up. Only one was allowed to speak. Below is a letter Veterans for Peace sent to the Board about the incident, and the broader issues of Board policies. George N. Schmidt, Editor, Substance].

Facebook DeMilitarizeCPS

September 30, 2015

SUBJECT: CPS Board meeting Guideline for Public Participation

When a group, public or private, asks for public comment and publishes guidelines to facilitate public comment, a rational person would expect that these guidelines would be followed.

On September 29 an associate and I followed the CPS Guidelines for Public Participation and were both prepared to speak at the Board meeting. We pre-registered, spent considerable time condensing our messages into two-minute presentations, allocated time on our schedules to attend the meeting, traveled to the meeting, went through the extensive check-in procedure, and give them our handouts.

When my associate was called (19 on the Board of Education Public Speakers list), I (57) was also called. We were told that only one of us could speak. We were astounded. We spoke to several of your security personnel and they could not explain the reason. I tried to speak to your Board Secretary after the meeting but was intercepted by another person who said I should make a comment on your web site. (This has been done.)

We observed during the meeting that some groups were told to select one speaker from among those who followed the Guidelines and signed up to speak, while other groups especially those pro and con to Noble charter school were allowed multiple speakers. This inconsistency was very upsetting emotionally and very unprofessional. In addition, when CPS clearly states that sixty speaking slots will be filled and then reduces these slots at the meeting, you are limiting the publics ability to express their opinion.

I recommend that you review your Participation Guidelines, clarify them and publish them prominently on your web site. Please keep me informed on your progress.

Arnold Stieber


Veterans For Peace Chicago

Suite 1305 South

4800 S. Chicago Beach Dr.

Chicago, IL 60615


Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

5 + 3 =