CHICAGO (WLS) --A group of parents rallied outside Blaine Elementary School in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood Monday morning and evening to protest the removal of popular, but outspoken principal Troy LaRaviere over spring break.
"CPS is broken in so many ways. To fire a principal who is the leader in one of the best-performing neighborhood schools in the community is unacceptable," said parent Betsy Melton.
LaRaviere was the principal of Blaine Elementary in the Wrigleyville community. Parents say he brought great teachers - and a sense of pride - to the school.
But LaRaviere is also an outspoken critic of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Parents say that made him a target of the school board.
At a meeting Monday night, parents were told that Laraviere didn't follow school district procedures and that he ignored repeated warnings.
The school board released a statement last week that said: "CPS made this decision based on the advice of our attorneys because of alleged acts of misconduct, including violations of a previously board-issued warning resolution. We did not consult the mayor in making this decision," the statement said. Emanuel said Monday that he did not play a role in the decision to remove LaRaviere.
On Monday, the Blaine Local School Council (LSC) - which held an emergency meeting Sunday night -- issued a statement that read, in part: "Two of the LSC's primary functions are the hiring and evaluation of principals. CPS circumvented these core responsibilities by blindsiding the LSC with this decision when it knew that most members would be out of town for spring break, and denied us the opportunity to have a meaningful voice in our principal's temporary replacement."
The statement also recommends that Assistant Principals Gary Norcross and Angela Brito assume leadership of Blaine Elementary until the situation with LaRaviere is resolved.
"The thing I have a problem with is (the mayor) saying that he doesn't have anything to do with it and not being aware of it. I think that he is aware of it," said Margaret Stewart, a Blaine parent.
In a blog post, LaRaviere said he hasn't been informed of the charges against him.
"I want to know. What are the charges against our beloved principal? What are charges? He would like to know what the charges are," said Paige Kinane, a Blaine parent.
LaRaviere asked the community to keep their attention trained on the issues plaguing the district, instead of shifting their focus onto him.
"My message is that we need to stay focused on the corrupt fiscal management and incompetent education policy of our district and our city. That's what I've tried to highlight. This is not about me. This is about corruption, and I am an obstacle to that corruption," LaRaviere said.
"Ultimately, we have to try to explain the administration's decision to our children. I have a second grader. If I can't explain it, then maybe the administration should step up and explain why they did what they did," said Ryan Jacobson, a Blaine parent.
There is no word yet on where LaRaviere will be reassigned.