District 209 officials released a statement on Wednesday stating that they are currently investigating “fires that were set in our school bathrooms” during that day’s student walkout.

“Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against those who were involved,” the officials stated. They did not specify how many fires were started, where they were started or whether anyone was injured as a result of them. An attempt to contact district officials by phone on Wednesday was unsuccessful.

The student demonstrations, which started Wednesday morning, were designed to show support of the Proviso Teachers Union (PTU), whose roughly 300 members plan to strike on Friday if they don’t reach a contract agreement with the administration by then.

In a separate statement, D209 Supt. James Henderson claimed that teachers in the district “have recruited our scholars to support their position and encourage them to stage a walkout during school hours.”

Henderson said that the student demonstrations “not only caused disruption to teaching and learning in our classrooms, they also put many of our scholars in compromising situations and have the ability to cause irreparable harm to their futures.”

Henderson said that the district is initiating a remote learning day on Thursday, Feb. 17, during which teachers will conduct classes virtually from their classrooms and will be accessible to students from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

“Students will use their District issued laptops to attend classes via TEAMS, according to their normal schedule,” the superintendent stated. “All students and teachers are required to have their cameras ON for the duration of each class. Those who do not will be marked absent.”

Henderson said that the district has a planned Institute Day on Friday, the day of the scheduled teacher strike. They also have the day off on Monday, Feb. 21, which is Presidents Day.

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