Interim principal appointed at Jones College Prep amid uproar over Halloween costume

Students at a South Loop high school staged a walkout Monday over a controversial video of another student parading in a military uniform.

Hundreds of kids at the South Loop selective-enrollment school participated in the demonstration, wearing black shirts to show solidarity and leaving their classes for a "sit-in" in the school’s lobby.

Students and parents were furious at the outfit many believe resembled Nazi attire — along with the student’s goose-stepping and salute during a school costume showcase.

The school's now suspended principal — Joseph Powers — responded to the uproar by explaining via a statement that the student was dressed as a "Communist-era East German soldier."


The Chicago Teachers Union has called for Powers to step down.

In a letter addressed to parents and guardians Monday night, acting Principal Arthur Slater said, "Our first priority will be to restore trust and heal the harm that the community has been experiencing."

Gabriel Willis, 18, said he was "really disappointed" the school’s administration failed to immediately address the costume last week and looked for ways to explain and contextualize the outfit rather than listen to concerns.

"He shouldn’t have been able to walk the stage," Willis said of the student who wore the soldier costume.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.