Chicago Public Schools cross country runners sue to compete in postseason races during teacher strike

Photo: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

The ongoing Chicago Public Schools teacher strike has already claimed a week’s slate of football games, sending eight teams out of the state playoffs by robbing them of the chance to qualify. Now a group of cross country runners are suing to avoid the same fate.

MORE: Chicago teacher strike leads to game cancellations, costs 8 teams shot at state playoffs

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, a suit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court aims to impose a temporary retraining order that would allow a group of 14 runners from Jones College Prep to compete in postseason races which begin this weekend. While the lawsuit was filed by the families of the 14 Jones runners, any injunction would also conceivably apply to other high school cross country runners in the district, and by extension might pave the way for the resumption of other school athletic events; part of the language of the lawsuit claims it is filed on behalf of, “other similarly situated CPS student-athletes.”

“We asked (the Illinois High School Association) to use some creativity in solving this problem for these kids, who have really become the collateral damage of this strike,” Kevin Sterling, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit told the Tribune.

“We are not taking a position on the strike. This is not about whether or not we think CPS or (the Chicago Teachers Union) is right or wrong. What this is about is these kids who have worked hard all summer and fall, and deserve a chance to compete.”

Sterling also raised the prospect of lost competition putting a damper on the opportunities for some financially disadvantaged students to earn a college scholarship.

Regardless of those implications, the lawsuits against the IHSA are likely to continue while the Chicago strike rolls on. Per the Tribune, Simeon Career Academy has filed two separate appeals to the IHSA that would clear the way for it to earn a state playoff berth. If those appeals fail, it would not be at all surprising for someone connected with Simeon to file a temporary restraining order similar to the one from Jones College Prep.

Of course, there’s just one development that would solve all these issues promptly out of a courtroom: An immediate end to the teachers strike.

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