The Naperville, IL, School District has cancelled a visit by Bill Ayers at Naperville North High School after the visit scheduled for April 8th sparked heated controversy in the community.
Ayers is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Education. His radical activism and involvement in the 1960s group, the Weathermen, has drawn criticism.
The event was planned only for students in a social studies class, and the students were required to obtain parental permission to attend.
In a statement released this afternoon, Superintendent Alan Leis announced the cancellation of the event, stating that the controversy jeopardized students’ educational experience:
“While parents and others have written urging us to continue with the event because they want students exposed to diverse viewpoints, Dr. Ayers’ appearance has clearly become a “lightning rod,” both inside and outside the District 203 community, because of his past actions. It is clear that any value to our students would be lost in such a highly-charged atmosphere, and that any debate of issues or viewpoints would be overshadowed by media coverage and anger over the event itself.”