Embattled Chicago Public School principal Troy LaRaviere on Thursday maintained the charges levied against him by the district were aimed at silencing the vocal critic of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The former Blaine Elementary School principal said he was charged with insubordination, ethics violations and dereliction of duty. He also said he was reassigned without a school and is currently awaiting his suspension hearing.
“I've talked with so many principals who say there is a culture of fear and intimidation and burdensome paperwork,” LaRaviere said, adding the "CPS administration is inherently corrupt."
CPS notified LaRaviere, who heads one of the district's highest performing schools, that he would be removed from his post as Blaine’s principal last month. He claims the ousting was retaliatory and politically motivated, but the district has denied that claim.
“Mr. LaRaviere has made public the charges that CPS provided to him on April 25, 2016. Those charges set forth the bases for CPS’ decision to remove him as a principal," CPS said in a statement. "An independent arbitrator will hear evidence concerning those charges and make a recommendation concerning Mr. LaRaviere’s employment.”
Last summer, the Board of Education issued a formal warning to the outspoken principal, calling him 'insubordinate' for not rallying behind a push for Spring Standardized Testing.
LaRaviere has been a vocal critic of Emanuel and CPS policies. He's also been politically involved in both Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia's previous campaign for mayor. Garcia was in attendance at the press conference.
Despite the charges, LaRaviere continues to campaign to be president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association.
Retired principal Ken Hunter, who is running against Laraviere, claimed he is using the media to sway the election.
“[LaRaviere is] using the media to help him,” Hunter said. “I’m out visiting schools.”
Hunter filed a petition to run for president of the association that included signatures from Chicago Board of Education's Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson, who was selected by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and an advisor to CPS CEO Forrest Claypool, Denise Little.
Last week, LaRaviere penned a blog post detailing the events that led up to his dismissal. In the post, LaRaviere speculated that CPS monitored his email account to find out about a meeting he planned on the day of his dismissal with an “insider with detailed knowledge” of a CPS contract arrangement that looked to privatize the management of the district’s engineers.