Morton High School board censures member over racist post

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Morton 201 School Board member Michael Iniquez listens as the board talks about his recent racist posts on Facebook during a board meeting Wednesday May 9, 2012 in Cicero. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times

A west suburban high school board voted Wednesday to censure a fellow board member for a racist post on his Facebook page, despite calls from hundreds of parents in Cicero and Berwyn requesting his resignation.

The school board members for Morton High School District 201 publicly admonished board member Michael Iniquez, who also apologized for his actions at the board meeting.

The Sun-Times reported last month that Iniquez had a racist TGIF phrase next to a photograph of a dancing, nearly naked, small black child.

“IT’S FRIDAY N—A’S” was the phrase on the wall of Iniquez’s Facebook page ­– but without the dashes.

A Facebook friend of Iniquez’s commented on the post, asking: “Is that Brookfield Zoo.”

More than 200 parents had signed an online petition calling for Iniquez to resign.

One Berwyn parent, Andres Avila, who is also a member of a grass-roots group dedicated to improving District 201, blasted the board’s decision Wednesday.

“I think it’s an outrage,” Avila said. “I think it’s a punch in the gut to a parent.”

It’s the second time the school board declined to call for the resignation of a board member despite parent protests. Last year, the school board voted to re-elect Jeff Pesek board president, even after Pesek testified under a grant of immunity from prosecution at a mob bombing trial in Chicago.

In an interview last month, Iniquez had blamed his son for the racist post.

At the meeting, though, Iniquez’s apology was unclear on whether he himself had posted the racist comment.

“In the pursuit of being funny, I am responsible instead for offending, and that was never my intention,” he said at the meeting.

After the meeting, Iniquez repeatedly refused to answer any questions.

Iniquez also faced repercussions at his job as head of rodent control at the Town of Cicero. The town suspended him for three days without pay and ordered him to undergo counseling, a town spokesman has said. Iniquez is the son of the town’s former police chief, and both men have given more than $10,000 in all to the political campaign of Cicero Town President Larry Dominick, who denounced the racist post.

District 201 serves more than 8,000 high school students, most of them from Cicero or Berwyn.

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