Washington High School Principal Faces Community Pressure

April 9, 2008

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Parents and students at George Washington High School on Chicago's south east side are fed up with fights that have taken place at the school in recent weeks. Last night they gathered to demand solutions from the new principal.

Angry students and parents filled the school auditorium for the special meeting. Some blamed new principal Florence Gonzales for the violence. Student Danielle Flores says she's frustrated that Gonzales didn't open up a dialogue sooner.

FLORES: None of us have a really good opinion on her. We don't see her in the hallway. I don't know who she is or what she looks like.

When principal Gonzales took the position at the start of spring semester she fired over 10 staff members. Students and parents say a couple of those staff members were key players in controlling students and easing racial tensions. But Gonzales says the meeting is a start to making new plans.

GONZALES: We will follow up with their concerns and recommendations and I am reaching out to outside organizations to come into our school to support us and assist us.

Gonzales says she'll get help from the police department and other city organizations.