Taft principal Grishaber praised for his support of vets following reports on social media; school has not received formal request for Turning Point USA student club
by BRIAN NADIG
In the past week Taft High School has been a hot topic on social media regarding reports about a “canceled” Pearl Harbor Day remembrance ceremony and about a group of students wanting to form a local chapter of the conservative Turning Point USA at the school.
“(Grishaber) is the most pro-veteran employee in the Chicago Public Schools,” Taft alum Art Ellingsen, a veteran, said at the Dec. 14 meeting of the Taft Local School Council. Ellingsen listed several initiatives, including honoring vets at football games, which Taft has done in recent years.
Ellingsen said that the ceremony, which was scheduled to be held on the plaza outside Taft on Dec. 7, was canceled by the school due to the cold weather.
However, many veterans still showed up and held the ceremony, without any student participation due to the weather but that led to criticism on social media that the school should have allowed it to be held indoors.
Grishaber has said that the ceremony could not have been moved indoors at the last-minute due to COVID-19 protocols.
LSC members applauded Ellingsen’s comments praising Grishaber. At the meeting the council presented Grishaber with written notice that it was renewing his contract.
Grishaber said that at graduation he gives students one last lesson, telling them that they must always thank a veteran for their service. “There is no exception to that rule,” he said.
Also on social media, liberals and conservatives have been debating whether the school should allow a Turning Point club, which some have called an organization that promotes hate but others have said it teaches youth about the importance of limited government and the Constitution.
“I did not cancel that … they haven’t even applied to be an organization (at the school),” Grishaber said at the meeting.
He said after the meeting that some students have expressed interest in a Turning Point club but that they would have to first find a faculty sponsor and there would then be a decision on whether the club would fit with the school’s mission to “educate global citizens to create a better world.”
Reports about the possibility of a Turning Point club led to the school releasing a statement that said the school’s diversity is “our strength” and that Taft strives to create a positive learning experience.
The statement did not mention “Turning Point” by name but did say, “we were disturbed to learn that an organization promoting racial intolerance has been associated with our school.”