Anthony Clark, a teacher at Oak Park River Forest High School, will be reinstated on Thursday after being suspended with pay nearly a week ago over his response to an incident involving a white student posing in blackface.
The problems started on Oct. 8, when a 17-year-old student posted a photo of himself on social media in blackface with a caption that read “Vote me for BLU president,” referring to the school’s Black Leaders Union.
Clark reposted the photo to his Suburban Unity Alliance Facebook page, but took it down when he learned the photo was of an Oak Park student.
Clark then met with the student and his mother, hoping to ease tensions.
Clark and the student were suspended last Thursday; a “voice for all march” was held last weekend to support Clark.
The mother of the student, who was suspended for five days, said her son has received numerous threats since posting the photo to Snapchat. She said Clark did nothing wrong and they support him “100 percent.”
“No one else reached out or offered to help. The school just told us to keep him home,” the student’s mom said. “[Anthony and his family] were so kind about it, and I think that conversation helped the weight of [his actions] sink in.”
Clark, who is also running for Congress, said he was grateful for the community’s outpouring of support and is optimistic about going back to the Oak Park high school.
“In this line of work, when attempting to address systemic issues, individuals and institutions are going to respond,” Clark said. “I’m proud of the community for speaking out for all young adults and for all families. To see them stepping up as allies and voicing their opinions and concerns is how we go forward.”