Julian, Oglesby principals ousted and humiliated by Huberman. Reed principal also ousted, with praise from Huberman!

The news on the first page of the Board of Education press release sent out at the end of the day on the day Spring Vacation began was about the removal of the principals of two Chicago public schools that were facing trouble: Julian High School and Oglesby Elementary.

Left out was a third principal who was also being removed, albeit in way way that was, to quote Alexander Pope, "damning with faint praise."

The principals of Julian and Oglesby were removed and humiliated.

The principal of Walter Reed was removed and praised.

And Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman apparently had killed three birds with one stone on April 3, 2009, when he announced to the public that he was moving quickly to replace the principals of Julian High School and Oglesby Elementary School because the schools were facing some kind of crisis.

Above, one of the leaders of the "103 -- Tray" (for 103rd St.) "Lady Taliban" street gang that has been terrorizing Chicago's Julian High School for the past year. One of the problem posed by CPS policy in relation to the gangs has been that for five years, the Chicago Board of Education under the leadership of former Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan (now U.S. Secretary of Education), had cut back on security and discipline, especially as it related to the hard core gang criminals who were allowed to roam freely in many schools. Duncan's policies, for example, changed the school system's "Uniform Discipline Code" to reclassify all activities of students as "inappropriate behaviors" and provide peer counseling in many cases instead of suspension and arrest. Duncan also used security problems at several high schools, including Austin High School and Calumet High School (2004) as pretexts for closing and privatizing the buildings. At Julian High School, the problems of serious gang violence resulted in part from the fact that every September the Duncan administration cut back on the number of teachers, basically "sabotaging" the school, according to staff. Substance photo provided by anonymous sources.What was not noted in the meager media reports in the story was that Huberman was effectively disarming a third school in the process. While he publicly humiliated the principals of Julian and Oglesby, he promoted another principal who had been critical of recent actions of the Board of Education, thereby removing her from the school she had been organizing to save.

On April 3, Huberman removed three principals, not two.

The principals of Julian High School and Oglesby Elementary School were removed in what some observers described as a "brutal" manner.

At the same time, Huberman also promoted and praised the principal of one school that had been on Huberman's "New Schools" Hit List, placing her in charge of one of two schools he designated as being "in crisis" so that he could remove their principals immediately.

CPS press release raises more questions than it answers

It was probably only a matter of time before the Julian High School "Lady Taliban -- Ten Tray" street gang members (above, showing their four 9 mm "chrome" recently in a photograph that was among 30 posted at MySpace) got some attention from the people who rule Chicago. Less than a month after some of the photographs of the South Side gang that had terrorized students and staff at Julian High School were posted at, Chicago Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman announced that he was removing the school's principal in part because of "security concerns." Whether Huberman's replacement principal will be able to end the street gang violence that has plagued the South Side high school remains to be seen. Substance photo provided by an anonymous source, verified by CPS staff.Late in the afternoon of April 3, 2009, CPS Communications chief Monique Bond authorized the faxing and e-mailing of a press release to Substance. The material arrived at 4:00 p.m., six hours after the actions described in it were done.

Testimony from staff at Walter Reed Elementary School at the February 4 hearing proved that the Board of Education's demographic claims about the school were false. Nevertheless, the Board voted that the school was "underutilized" and should therefore be "phased out." Above: One of the charts utilized by CPS in attempting to claim that Walter Reed school was "underutilized" and should therefore be subjected to what this year was called "phase out." Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.According to the April 3, 2009 Chicago Board of Education press release entitled "CPS Schools Chief Ron Huberman Acts to Strengthen Leadership at Two Schools", Ron Huberman replaced the principals of Julian High School (10330 S. Elizabeth St.) and Oglesby Elementary School (7646 S. Green St.) on Friday, April 3, the day Chicago's public schools began their Spring Vacation.

"New principals assigned to Oglesby Elementary, Julian High Schools..." the headline on the press release read.

Without explaining why Huberman had not requested the action at the Board of Education meeting less than two weeks earlier, the press release made claims about what was being done:

"In an effort to strengthen leadership and improve learning environments for students at a pair of neighborhood schools, two Chicago Public Schools principals are being reassigned from their current positions, CPS Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman announced today," the press release began.

Julian High School parent Sherida Pedro-Randolph (above) had been trying to get the Julian High School administration to confront the school's enormous street gang problem for more than a year. Randolph, whose daughter had been threatened by the "Lady Taliban" street gang, finally brought the matter to the attention of the March 25 Chicago Board of Education meeting during public participation (above). She also wrote a detailed letter regarding the Julian High School situation to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt."Huberman said he was taking the actions to improve the management, leadership and educational programs being offering at Oglesby Elementary and Julian High Schools," Huberman continued. "Administration officials are taking advantage of the Chicago Public Schools spring break period to transition new leadership, which will make the process less disruptive for students and school staff members."

The Board went on to report that Clifton Hunt, principal of Oglesby, 7646 S. Green, and Darreyl Young-Gibson, principal of Julian, 10330 S. Elizabeth, both were removed from their positions effective immediately.

Sources at the schools reported that the principals were unceremoniously removed from their posts early in the school day on Friday, April 3, 2009. Julian parents, students and staff noted that the move was accompanied by little explanation to staff, parents, or students. One staff member at one of the school described a procedure that was "designed to achieve maximum humiliation" of the principal.

"Falling short" claimed in abrupt removal of assigned principals

"Huberman stressed that when a school has been identified as falling short in meeting the mission of educating students and maintaining a safe learning environment, and school leaders fail to take the actions needed to make changes or improvements, corrective action will be taken," the press release continued, "In addition to safety and security concerns, action was taken because school management, instructional leadership, and special education needs were also falling short of meeting educational goals."

No additional details were provided.

The press release went on to report:

"Careda Taylor was named as interim principal at Julian. Taylor is the former principal of Kenwood Academy High School and was also chief of staff in the Office of High School Programs. 'She has a great deal of experience at both the administrative level and also the hands-one, day-to-day operations of a high school,'" Huberman was quoted as saying.

Walter Reed Principal Reassigned to Oglesby

Huberman was also quoted as follows regarding the other principal, who replaces the principal of Oglesby.

"Rebecca Watson, currently the principal of Walter Reed Elementary School, will assume interim principal resposibilities at Oglesby," the press release states. "Officials said that Watson 'has excelled in her assignment at Reed, demonstrating outstanding leadership qualities.'"

Left out of Huberman's narrative about Walter Reed was that Reed had continued to protest the February 25 "phase out" vote that many in the community believe is a prelude to turning the Reed facility over to some form of charterization or privatization, as has been the recent pattern at CPS.

The Chicago Board of Education deliberately issued the press release announcing the controversial moves at the end of the day on a Friday. Since the actions were being carried out at the beginning of the school day, the decision to release the information to the press at day's end indicated that Huberman did not want to have to answer questions about his moves.

Huberman was not available to the press to discuss the decisions or explain why the abrupt actions affecting three schools had not been legally approved by the Chicago Board of Education, which had met less than two weeks earlier, on March 25, 2009.

Julian's tragic history

The recent increase in gang activity at schools like Julian High School has been predicted and is a direct result of central policies of the Chicago Board of Education.

As the Chicago Board of Education has closed and privatized more general high schools across the city, the squeeze on security at the city's remaining general high schools has increased.

Underneath the headlines regarding the dramatic murders of Julian High School students Blair Holt and Kiyanna Salter (both of whom were murdered while riding Chicago Transit Authority buses and not at the school) has been an ongoing reign of drug gang terror that has affected every student at the school and has been partly the result of poor administrative leadership at the top of CPS, not at the local school level.

Walter Reed Elementary School Principal Rebecca Watson (above) organized a presentation against the "phase out" of her school that was so impressive that it was even complimented by the CPS hearing officer, Frederick Bates. Above, Watson led the testimony against the proposed phase out of Reed at a February 4, 2009 hearing at CPS headquarters at 125 S. Clark St. in Chicago. Despite the proof that Reed was making the best educational use of its space at 6350 S. Stewart in Chicago, CPS Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman recommended to the Board of Education at its February 25 meeting that Reed be "phased out" due to "underutilization." Reed's staff and students continued to protest against the effective destruction of their school following the Board vote. On April 3, 2009, Huberman removed Ms. Watson from Reed by praising her and assigning her to be "interim principal" at the troubled Oglesby Elementary School. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.On May 10, 2007, Julian student Blair Holt was murdered a mile from the school on the Number 103 CTA bus when a gang member boarded the bus and opened fire on a member of a rival gang. Holt was credited with sacrificing his own life by pushing a fellow student out of the line of fire. The incident took place a mile from the school after school hours.

The reverberations of the Blair Holt murder inside Julian were large, but the administration of Arne Duncan cut teachers at the school in September 2007 despite the need for more staff. Although there was an outcry locally, the corporate media in Chicago focused on the clamor from some city leaders for the passage of stricter gun control laws, in the form of a bill named after Blair Holt.

Former Chicago Transit Authority President Ron Huberman was appointed "Chief Executive Officer" (CEO) of the Chicago Public Schools by Mayor Richard M. Daley in January 2009. During the time that Huberman headed the CTA, two Julian High School students -- Blair Holt in 2007 and Kiyanna Salter in 2008 -- were murdered on CTA buses after school hours, when Chicago drug gangs fired into the buses. No one in Chicago's corporate media noted the irony of the mayor's appointment when Huberman took over, and the uncritical media coverage of Huberman continues as the Spring vacation begins and Huberman abruptly changes the leadership of Julian High School, Oglesby Elementary School, and Reed Elementary School without submitting his actions to the Chicago Board of Education. Above, Huberman at the March 25, 2009, meeting of the Board. Behind Huberman are two Board members, Alberto Carrero (left) and Peggy Davis (right). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. The current (2008-2009) school year opened with another act of what school staff call centralized "sabotage" when the Board of Education again refused to provide enough teachers for the school in September 2008. On October 5, 2008, another Julian student was murdered in the crossfire of a gang shooting on a CTA bus. Kiyanna Salter was riding the Number 79 Cottage Grove bus when two men began arguing and both produced guns. One exited the bus and then began shooting back into it, killing Salter.

Four months after Kiyanna Salter became the second Julian High School student murdered in less than two years on a CTA bus, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed the President of the CTA, rather than a certified educator, to head the Chicago Public Schools. Media coverage of the Huberman administration since Huberman's January 2009 appointment has been adulatory and uncritical. 

Article first posted 4:00 a.m. on April 4, 2009. Scheduled to be published in the April 2009 print edition of Substance.


April 21, 2009 at 11:00 PM

By: Ms. Stamps

Former Teacher

I provided those pictures to CPS and the principal at Julian High School after my daughter was assaulted by ten students while waiting on the bus stop. I wanted answers as to why I was able to get this information about the students at Julian simply by logging on to Myspace but the school did not know. I also put them on to several teen sex sites that several of the Julian students were posting on. Some of the pictures that I provided were also of Julian students smoking marijuana in the school. I know that many people are outraged by what's going on with the principal, but I should not have had to transfer my daughter because she was not safe there. Julian has some REAL problems. There is not enough space on this website to explain all of the bullcrap we went through in the two days we were at Julian including almost getting jumped by 40 girls and boys for reporting to the police. People need to accept that Julian has REAL problems and figure out REAL solutions. Also, people thinking that Fenger students coming to Julian is not the problem because we also witnessed students from Julian preparing to go to Fenger to start a gang fight. Our children need as much help as they can get.

April 22, 2009 at 2:36 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Julian updates could be daily in comments

I was aware of the many places where Julian students had been posting, but chose to focus on the people who could be identified as Julian students (by off the record sources) who posed with guns (not Halloween party props) in those photographs. We then chose to publish a small fraction of the photographs, without names.

The level of corruption in Chicago today is beyond many peoples' belief. As far as we can tell here (and report here), Julian's problem is not much different from the 50 to 100 CPS schools that have been undermined by drug gangs and Daley administration teacher bashing policy over the past 14 years. That is why at Substance we have focused on the breathtaking level of hypocrisy coming from Chicago's leaders (including political ones like Daley and religious ones like Father Pfleger), who undermine the public schools and the authority of teachers, principals, and LSCs thereby further promoting the gangs.

Where this can be linked to other political leaders at the local level (e.g., aldermen who routinely support Daley and whose family members profit greatly from deals such as real estate development) we want to bring the details out, checked and verified.

Anyone who can provide Substance with further information about the gang violence can contact us directly by e-mail (, phone (773-725-7502) or snail mail.

The GDs in the photographs from Julian are not the only drug gang members boldly proclaiming their reality utilizing the Internet, as you know. I was laughing while crying viewing the "Mother Country" videos (that's a plural) from the ALKQN and wondering whether anyone had told the International Olympic Committee about these facts while they were being hosted around to see all of the Czar's Potemkin Villages. They really should have spent two nights walking (not driving) the streets of Englewood, West Englewood, and North Lawndale as part of their investigation of Chicago.

But given the corporate brainwash in our town, that's a little too much reality to ask.

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