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Jones College Prep students plan walkout to protest principal's response to goose-stepping student in German uniform on Halloween

More than 100 Jones College Prep students walked out protesting principal's response to Halloween in
More than 100 Jones College Prep students walked out protesting principal's response to Halloween in 01:17

CHICAGO (CBS) -- More than 100 students participated in a sit-in at their high school today.

It comes after the controversy surrounding a student's Halloween costume and the response from the principal. Students sat in the front lobby of Jones College Prep High School, even taking to the courtyard to express their concerns.

Video posted on social media shows a student goose-stepping while wearing a German military uniform to school for Halloween. Many students and staff saw it as anti-Semitic and thought the principal downplayed the incident.

CPS has removed the principal, Joseph Powers, while an investigation is underway. Jones Black Student Union, a club at the school, said it is calling on CPS for administration reform and to implement holocaust education.

"Dr. Powers, his removal from his principal duties was a long time in the coming in terms of his incompetence," said Jones College Prep senior Jaheim Johnson. 

It's not the first time Powers' job has been on the line. In April, three members of the school's council sent a letter to CPS, outlining allegations of powers ignoring student concerns and not showing up for work. They asked the district to fire him.

CPS decided not to let him go at the time. 

According to copies of a letter posted on social media, principal Joseph Powers wrote:

"Many of our students and staff came to school on Monday, October 31, dressed in Halloween costumes. We held a costume contest in the afternoon during Ac Lab, which was fun and well-received. Amid all the other costumes, a member of our school community wore a military surplus army uniform. Staff and students expressed their concerns about the uniform, believing that it represented an expression of antisemitism. Additionally, a video of the costume parade has since appeared on social media."

"I certainly understand and regret the discomfort and harm felt by some members of our school community. Please be assured that we take the well-being of all students seriously and do not tolerate hateful expressions of any kind. In this situation, it certainly appears this was not the intent of the Halloween costume."

Students have accused Powers of downplaying the incident, and many plan to walk out of classes on Monday. An Instagram post calls for Jones students to walk out of their 4th period classes to "protest the way the administration handles racial and ethnic discrimination."

In a letter to parents, the Chicago Public Schools said everyone within its system has a shared responsibility to "ensure all of our students and staff feel safe, supported, welcomed, and valued." The letter continued:

"As many of you may have heard, seen, or read, there was an incident earlier this week where a member of one of our school communities wore a German military uniform to school as a Halloween costume — an act that was widely recognized by many students, staff, and members of our broader CPS community as anti-Semitic.

"This incident caused harm to many students and staff, and it is completely inconsistent with our values as a school district. It also comes at a time when hateful speech and hateful attacks are on the rise, especially against Jewish Americans."

CPS said the incident is inconsistent with values of the district.

CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov previously reported concerns that claims of abuse in the school went nowhere. In April, three members of Jones College Prep's local school council sent a letter to CPS outlining allegations of wrongdoing against Principal Joe Powers and asking for an investigation. 

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