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CPS suspends Lincoln Park’s boys basketball season, removes principal

Chicago Public Schools has suspended the No. 10 Lions’ season because of “the severity of the misconduct allegations involving the team.”

Lincoln Park basketball coach Pat Gordon.
Lincoln Park basketball coach Pat Gordon.
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools on Friday removed Lincoln Park interim principal John Thuet and assistant principal Michelle Brumfield and suspended the school’s boys basketball season until further notice because of ‘‘the severity of the misconduct allegations involving the team.’’

Lions basketball coach Pat Gordon was suspended by CPS in early January. The Office of Student Protections is investigating claims that a student had sex while the team was on a trip to Detroit, that social media is involved and that Gordon knew about it.

‘‘I know this is difficult news for the school community, but please know that we would not have taken these actions if we did not believe they were necessary to promote the safe and supportive educational environment your children deserve,’’ CPS’ Laura LeMone, who oversees the network of schools that includes Lincoln Park, wrote in a letter to parents.

A dean and interim basketball coach Donovan Robinson have been reassigned, pending the outcome of an investigation. Robinson said he wasn’t even with the team in Detroit. He took over as interim coach Jan. 6.

Gordon denied knowing anything about an incident in Detroit.

‘‘I can’t cover up something I didn’t know about,’’ Gordon said Friday. ‘‘And I wouldn’t sacrifice my career in coaching and our season by not reporting something I knew about.’’

Lincoln Park invited parents and families to a meeting Monday to ‘‘discuss the school leadership change and transition plans.’’

Florina Sanchez, the mother of star guard Julio Montes, was shocked to learn the season was suspended. She went to Detroit for the holiday tournament.

‘‘I’m devastated,’’ Sanchez said. ‘‘It is a crazy mess, and the fact that the principal was fired made me even more concerned. Now I’m scared. What are we supposed to do? My son is being punished.’’

Sanchez said she recently sent out highlight packages of her son to college coaches.

‘‘I received a lot of responses,’’ Sanchez said. ‘‘Coaches were coming to watch Julio’s games. Now what do I tell them? This is impacting my son’s scholarship chances, and he has nothing to do with it.’’

Lincoln Park apparently will have to forfeit its first-round city playoff game Tuesday against Perspectives-IIT. The Lions are 19-3 and finished second in the Red-North/West.

Thuet didn’t immediately respond to calls and messages seeking comment.

CPS spokesman Michael Passman referred to LeMone’s letter and said: ‘‘We have provided parents all of the detail we are able to share at this time, so I don’t have anything to add to that.’’

Thuet sent a letter to families Sunday informing them of ‘‘an allegation that one of our employees engaged inappropriately with a student.’’ Thuet told parents the staffer was removed from the school, and the office of CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler, which handles adult-on-student sexual-misconduct allegations, opened an investigation.

The incident involving the student is being investigated by CPS’ Office of Student Protections and Title IX, which was formed in the summer of 2018 to handle allegations of student-on-student sexual violence, harassment and discrimination.

The creation of the office came in the midst of searing scrutiny of the school district’s mishandling of what turned out to be thousands of cases of sexual abuse and assault against students.