Lake Forest High School was a bustle of activity earlier this morning, with rows of yellow school busses, crowds of students walking in every direction — and a long line of teachers picketing on the sidewalk in front.
LFHS resumed with a "mandatory student attendance day" this morning — with busses running and lunch being served — with a full day of programming for all students. While students will not be following their traditional class schedule, a LFHS newsletter to the parents noted that: "After extensive development by our administration and over 50 student leaders vetted the plan with our administration and concluded it would be great. We also reviewed our schedule and offerings with community leaders. They were very excited about the plans and programs."
Related: read Patch's ongoing strike coverage here.
The school noted that the programming would be different for each class, with freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors following separate schedules. The school normally has around 140 teachers in the building. Today, there are 70 certified teachers (meaning not the current faculty of LFHS), over 50 volunteers assisting those teachers, 20 teaching assistants, multiple teacher's aids and the full staff of special education professionals.
At the time of publication, LFHS did not know how many normal full-time teachers had crossed the picket line for class, but did confirm that two teachers crossed the picket-line last week.
The newsletter noted that the Board decided to resume mandatory attendance as opposed to waiting for the strike to end (as the Chicago Public Schools are doing during their ongoing strike) because "community feedback on this issue has been emphatic - our parents expect us to open school."
The newsletter also noted that "We are trying to do what no one has ever done before. Simply put: we're working very hard to provide meaningful experiences and instruction for your children and will do it as long as we feel that it is worthwhile and meaningful for your student."
While the school noted in a press release last week that teachers are invited back to class on Monday — but will not be penalized if they do not cross the picket line, nor will they face consequences if they do cross it — there was still a bevy of teachers marching in front of the school this morning. Their numbers have also grown, with teachers from neighboring districts, such as Highland Park, New Trier, Sherwood, Stevenson and Chicago, marching along side them in support.
"They asked me to come march in Lake Forest this morning," noted Margaret Tower, Chicago Public School Teacher. "They supported us on Saturday, and so today Chicago is asking us to join them."
The Board has not yet responded to questions concerning how many teachers arrived to teach class this morning.
The Board and the LFEA resumed negotiations at 9 a.m. this morning.