Students across the nation are staging “walkouts” for gun violence in light of the recent mass shooting in Parkland, FL. If teachers are herding their students out into the streets and encouraging them to make posters about gun control isn’t that violating the law? Chicago GOP Chairman, Chris Cleveland joins Dan and Amy to discuss the IG complaint he filed against CPS for breaking the law and holding political rallies during public time on public property.
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Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. So, the guy that Eddie Redmayne played passed away, and Stephen Hawking died at the age of 76, came over the transom late yesterday evening. Jacobson: He was diagnosed with ALS at...in 1963...so he has lived with this disease for decades. Proft: Yeah, obviously a famed theoretical cosmologist... Jacobson: ...renowned scientist, all that. Proft: Right...although he was wrong about Higgs-Boson, wasn't he? And he had to admit that Peter Higgs was right. We'll debate... Jacobson: I remember that...we're gonna debate that in the last hour of the show this morning. Proft: 8 o'clock hour, we're gonna debate that, we're gonna re-enact the argument between Stephen Hawking and Peter Higgs about the Higgs-Boson, the particle that gives...the God Particle, as of course you know... Jacobson: Of course! Proft: ...you know, the matter that gives protons...you know, protons and electrons mass. So that's gonna be a fun 8 o'clock hour. Stephen Hawking also known as a great comedic actor, in such series as Family Guy. Hawking(?)(from tape): Tell your wife to come over to my place if she wants a little boom-shaka-laka-laka-laka. Boom-shaka-laka-laka-laka. Boom-shaka-laka-laka-laka. Boom. Proft: Is that too soon? Jacobson: No, but this is...I mean, he did have a funny side to him, when he was Larry King once, Larry King asked him "What puzzles you the most about this world?" And he said "Women." He couldn't figure women out. He could figure everything else out but not us, our gender. Proft: Yeah, that was a good one. He was better on Family Guy when he had writers. Hawking(?)(from tape): *Hawking and a woman having sex with robotic voices* Jacobson: DAN! That IS when you say...WAY too soon, not just too soon. Proft: Eh. He would have enjoyed it. Yeah, you just mentioned his great sense of humor that he had. Jacobson: He did have a great sense of humor. And that's why he let them use his appearance and his voice on Family Guy and on The Simpsons. Proft: Right. I mean, everybody can talk about cosmology! This is... Jacobson: Einstein's theory of relativilly! Proft: Umm, I'm sorry? Who's what? Alright, switching gears. Today is March 14th, by my look at the calendar. That means a bunch of kids who were in charge of schools where adults get paid are walking out to protest gun violence, protest guns... Jacobson: They want the banning of assault rifles, assault weapons... Proft: ...whatever those are...memorialized the 17 that were murdered in Parkland. But in Chicago, that is being met with some resistance. Ahh, the resistance turns the tables, and that is the Chicago Republican Party has sued CPS over these walkouts. Why did they do that, and how are they faring? For more on that topic we're pleased to be joined by Chris Cleveland, who is the chairman of the Chicago Republican Party. Chris, thanks for being with us. Cleveland: Thanks Dan. Proft: So, why the lawsuit against...or maybe you're just seek injunctive relief, but why the action against CPS? Cleveland: Well, what we've actually done is filed a complaint with the Inspector General, and we'll see what he actually does. But the problem is that we've got teachers who are taking kids out for a political rally on public property and public...you know, public time! And it's just...this is political indoctrination. And it's totally inappropriate. Proft: Well, what...how many schools...because I know my kids' school is not doing it, but how many CPS schools are planning a walkout? Do you know? Cleveland: Well, we know the walkouts are going to be widespread. The one that triggered it, it was...my own school. I have a child in a CPS school and in this one, they were planning to take grades 5 thru out, herd them outside for this demonstration they encouraged them to make posters about gun control to express their opinion about it. Now, I don't think they're telling these kids to be AGAINST gun control here, it's clear that they're pushing a political view upon them. Proft: Well, we've seen this from some of the survivors from Parkland and other school shootings who've spoken out...that there's some divided opinion among young people about guns, as there is in the general public. And so you've had some people...some people's kids...say "Well, no, I'm not opposed to guns" or "No, I don't think banning guns is the answer to what happened in Parkland". And is there any indication from your kid's experience or what you've heard that people who don't hew to the orthodoxy of the Chicago Teachers Union on the issue are being allowed to express themselves too? Cleveland: No, there's no indication of it, because this is an elementary school. These kids are 10, 11 years old, the grades you know 5 through 8....14. They're not old enough to have formed an informed political opinion on this sort of thing. And they're gonna do what their teachers tell them to do in this case, or what their peers are saying they should do. And what they're going to do is herd all these kids out and the few kids who choose not to participate...they do have some provision for this...they're gonna be put in their own room, where they just have to sit by themselves, in this room. Proft: A veritable overhead BIN, Amy. Jacobson: Will you STOP IT? But then they could face bullying from other students who want them to take part in this protest, which they believe is like their civic duty to do so. You had mentioned that they encouraged the kids to make posters, did the teachers tell them what exactly should be on the posters, or encourage them with some "helpful suggestions"? Cleveland: Well, all we know for sure is what the principal said in his email, and he said they are "encouraged to bring posters to express their opinion." Now, you can guess what that means exactly. Proft: Yeah, and so you...the complaint has been filed with the Inspector General, the CITY Inspector General? Cleveland: Right. The CPS Inspector General. Proft: Oh right the CPS Inspector General. Well, CPS, the city, CPS...I keep forgetting that we pretend CPS and the city are two different things. Yes, so and...so, but this is something obviously you filed this yesterday, the walkout's today, obviously they're not going to adjudicate it. So, this is going to happen, right? Unless you pull your specific child, you pull your kid out of school or something like that. Cleveland: Well, we've appealed to the good sense of CPS (Proft: *laughs loudly*), and if they're wise enough to recognize that this is an EXPLICIT violation of CPS policy, written CPS policy. It's a violation of state law, AND it's a violation of the First Amendment, you THINK that they would call the principals or put out a note and say "Hey, cmon, you can't do this." Are they gonna have the good sense to do this? I dunno. But somehow I doubt it. Jacobson: Wow. So, personally, what have you decided to do with your daughter or son? Are they going to stay in a specific classroom while people walk? Are they just going to go outside and get some fresh air? Cleveland: Well, he's a third-grader. So, he's not going to be among those who are herded outside for this thing. So we've dodged that bullet this time, who knows what will happen in a couple of years when we have to deal with it? Proft: Well, that's the...that's the remarkable thing, isn't it? I mean, you mentioned it, but it bears repeating and emphasizing...first second third grades, fourth fifth graders, and they're supposed to take hard positions on public policy issues like guns and get out there with placards and...obviously this is just following the lead of the adults...to the extent that you call THAT leadership. And it's exploitive, really, isn't it? Cleveland: Well, yeah, of course! It's coercive, at that age, it's coercive. It's political indoctrination. And not only does it not make any sense, as it's obviously wrong, it's a VIOLATION OF THE LAW. I mean, you can't be doing this. State law says you can't use public property for private political purposes. I mean, it's crystal clear! Jacobson: Yeah, and if you're worried about kids safety...keeping them in school as opposed to forcing them to go outside...cuz I know personally, our school is on a busy street, so I don't want that to happen. Proft: Or if you're just worried about, as Chris mentioned, you know, the rule of law in a free society, if you're worried about the state law meaning anything... Jacobson: Well, the head of Chicago Public Schools came out and assured parents that students would not be punished for participating. So even though...if a school is doing that and a student wants to just walk out and leave, they're not going to be punished. Proft: What about the...but the question is, should the people breaking the law be punished? I guess it's the operative question, right? Cleveland: Yeah, yeah, obviously. And as I said, CPS has an explicit rule, which explicitly prohibits political demonstrations or rallies on public property, the teachers who lead this sort of thing ought to be subject to SOME kind of penalties, or else the rule is meaningless. Proft: Alright, he is Chris Cleveland...appealing to the good sense of CPS. Jacobson: Good luck with THAT! (Cleveland laughs) We're pullin' for ya! Proft: He is chairman of the Chicago Republican Party. Chris, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Cleveland: Thank you, Dan and Amy.