Chicago Public Schools

Judge Rules on Student-Athletes' Request to Play in IHSA Events Despite Chicago Strike

CPS athletes have been unable to compete since a teachers strike began last week

A judge denied an injunction request on Friday brought by a group of student-athletes that filed a lawsuit against the Illinois High School Association and Chicago Public Schools to compete in state tournaments amid the Chicago's teachers strike. 

All week long, cross country athletes from Jones College Prep have expressed their dismay that they would potentially be kept out of IHSA competitions because of the ongoing teachers strike.

Some are concerned that the tournament would have been their best chance at potentially getting athletic scholarships that would enable them to attend college.

“This is not about whether or not we think CTU or CPS is right or wrong. This is about these kids working hard all summer and fall and deserving the chance to compete in state championships and qualifying meets,” attorney Kevin Sterling said.

For their part, CPS is throwing the blame at the IHSA.

“This is not a CPS decision,” CEO Dr. Janice Jackson said. “We’re not using our kids as a pawn in this whole strike debate. IHSA rules clearly state we need 51 percent of our students in attendance in order to be an operating district, and therefore we can’t participate because of the stoppage.”

In her ruling, Judge Eve Reilly said, if a temporary injunction was granted, schools would have been forced to open their doors without adequate staffing, and student safety could be at risk if buildings were opened without staff members.

Reilly added "the possibility of conflict if teachers and coaches were crossing the picket line could place students in a dangerous situation."

The IHSA issued a statement following Judge Reilly's ruling on Friday.

“As the parent of a current high school student myself, I have great empathy for the student-athletes impacted by this strike,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “Yet, I fully understand why this rule exists and must be enforced. I genuinely hope for a quick resolution to the strike so that these young people can return to competition as soon as possible.”

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