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CHICAGO, IL –  After Chicago Public Schools (CPS) stonewalled his FOIA request and ignored follow-up from the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, activist Nick Burt filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on September 7, 2016 to compel the production of documents related to the firing of mayoral critic and former Blaine Elementary School Principal Troy LaRaviere.

LaRaviere is known for his strident opposition to the leadership and education reform policies of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He was terminated from his position at Blaine Elementary on April 20, 2016 amidst a storm of charges that included insubordination and unspecified ethics offenses. His firing came one month after he appeared criticizing the Mayor in a campaign advertisement for Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders.

Burt filed a Freedom of Information Act request on April 26, 2016 but was treated to repeated denials—and later a total lack of communication, a violation of state law—from CPS. Although Burt voluntarily narrowed his request on multiple occasions in response to feedback from CPS, the agency still uniformly deemed producing documents related to LaRaviere “unduly burdensome.”

After Burt filed a Request for Review with the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor, CPS ignored a June 2016 instruction from Illinois Assistant Attorney General S. Piya Mukherjee to update Burt on the status of his request; CPS also ignored Burt’s attempts to make contact by phone, email, and letter.

Of his suit, Burt had this to say: “Government agencies stonewall the public because they think they can get away with it. They can’t. If CPS is terminating educators because they are critical of the mayor’s wasteful and ineffective school privatization agenda, the public has the right to know.”

In May 2016, a month after being fired, former Principal LaRaviere was elected by his peers as President of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association.

A copy of the complaint is linked here [pdf].

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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