Is Taft High School’s Turning Point USA chapter done?
By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_
Taft High School’s Local School Council meets today. One issue that might come up? The Turning Point USA, or TPUSA, chapter that administrators shut down last week.
Started by Prospect Heights native Charlie Kirk a decade ago, the right-wing nonprofit says it has 1,400 college and high school chapters nationwide.
But none are in CPS, according to TPUSA’s tracker.
After 41st Ward GOP committeeman Ammie Kessem shared news the Taft chapter was starting on her official Facebook page Dec. 5, principal Mark Grishaber released a statement the next day saying the Northwest Side School would not allow any student clubs promoting racial intolerance.
Nora Flanagan, a Northside College Prep teacher, told City Cast it was one of the best responses she’s seen: quick, clear, and categorical.
Flanagan, a fellow at inclusive democracy organization Western States Center, has consulted schools across the country on how to respond to students signaling white nationalist ideology over the last 20 years — which she’s seen more of since the 2016 election.
The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center have flagged TPUSA for its links to extremists and for promoting racism.
So is the Taft TPUSA chapter really done? Seems like it.
After the club initially said on its Instagram page it wouldn’t give up, the page let followers know over the weekend it would soon be inactive and encouraged them to follow the new Cook County activism hub account.
“They can say whatever they want on their Instagram story. There’s their freedom of speech, but they don’t get to say whatever they want in a school,” Flanagan said. “There are all sorts of contexts in which freedom of speech is not unlimited.”
A Taft TPUSA student organizer told us Monday night that he was awaiting directions from the organization on our interview request. We’ll keep you posted.
👉 Attend or stream Taft’s LSC meeting at 6:30 p.m.
📍 See more TPUSA chapters near and far.
📖 Check out the white nationalism in schools toolkit Flanagan co-authored.
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