Chicago Principals Association Leader Calls for Accountability After CTU President’s ‘Concerning’ Comments, Union’s ‘Divisive Campaigns’

Troy LaRaviere appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 1, 2019.Troy LaRaviere appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 1, 2019.

The president of the union that represents Chicago Public Schools principals and administrators says he’s concerned about recent comments from CTU President Stacy Davis Gates and other “incendiary language.”

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The union leader was reported to have told members to “punch their principal in the face,” referring to William Hozian, principal of Stevenson Elementary School on the South Side. In a statement to members put out last week on X, formerly known as Twitter, CTU leadership called Davis Gates’ comments “figurative.”

After the comments, Hozian filed a report with the Chicago Police Department Jan. 26 and the matter was deemed to be non-criminal, according to the police report.

In a letter written Feb. 2 to CPS CEO Pedro Martinez, Chicago Principals and Administrators Association President Troy LaRaviere wrote, in part: “On Thursday, January 25, 2024, (Hozian’s) safety and well-being were threatened by CTU President Stacy Davis-Gates, who encouraged two Stevenson teachers to “punch your principal in the face,” and then publicly celebrated this comment by repeating it to a room filled with approximately 200 people participating in the Sustainable Community Schools Initiative.”

LaRaviere, Hozian and CTU representatives did not immediately return requests for comment.

The letter asserts that Davis Gates’ comments are part of a larger pattern of “undermining and disruptive behavior” on the part of Chicago Teachers Union members and delegates, and that the actions are happening “in schools targeted for disruption via an attack on their principals.” 

LaRaviere asserts that CTU members have made repeated unproven allegations against school principals and administrators as part of a “protracted divisive campaign,” using incendiary language and creating a “hostile work environment for principals, and an underdeveloped learning environment for children.”

The letter claims that Davis Gates’ comments about Hozian were made after two Stevenson staff members, who are also CTU delegates, made “unproven and unexamined” allegations against him.

The exact nature of those allegations is not clear.

“We expect the board to hold (Davis-Gates) accountable,” the letter reads. “Her public threat was unprofessional, unethical, and unbecoming of any educator or leader associated with the District and District employees.”

In a series of social media posts following WTTW News’ initial story Jan. 31, CTU leaders said, in part, “We believe that this police report was filed in reference to a figurative comment made by President Davis Gates during impromptu remarks to union members at CTU’s union hall in January, while talking about using the contract to challenge principals who bully our members.”

The posts went on to say: “The intentional mischaracterization of our President’s language while encouraging members to advocate for themselves and use their contract is an attempt to smear our union in the same way that a bad manager attempts to bully workers.”

The union’s labor contract with Chicago Public Schools expires June 30.

In a statement, a CPS spokesperson said, “while we don’t speak to the details of a specific staff or student incident, we were made aware that a non-criminal report was filed with the Chicago Police Department and we are providing staff with supports as needed.”

Read the full letter: 

Follow Paris Schutz on Twitter: @paschutz

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