There’s now an online petition calling for the return of Robert Lindblom Math & Academy High School’s (LMSA) former assistant principal Karen Fitzpatrick Carpenter.

The petition launched a week after students walked out of the school on Aug. 22 to protest her abrupt termination by LMSA’s new interim principal Abdul Muhammad. 

On Wednesday, Aug. 24, the Chicago Board of Education postponed its vote on offering a four-year contract to Muhammad. In a letter to Lindblom parents, students and staff, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief Schools Officer Felicia Sanders explained that CPS’ chief executive officer asked the Board to postpone taking action over concerns about Muhammad’s transition into his interim principal role.

“The CEO has chosen this course of action because of recent information regarding Mr. Muhammad’s transition. This has raised concerns for the CEO and he would like to take additional time to evaluate the recommendation,” the letter reads. “The CEO, with the assistance of the Network Office, will make a full assessment and hopes to resolve these concerns over the next several months.”

Muhammad took on the interim principal position at Lindblom in July 2022. Shortly afterward, he fired Carpenter.

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Carpenter, affectionately called Ms. Fitz by the Lindblom community, had served as assistant principal at LMSA for seven years. Prior to that role, she was a counselor at the high school for 18 years. She graduated from Lindblom in 1985.

On Monday, Aug. 22, more than 100 Lindblom students walked out of the first day of classes, expressing their frustration and hurt due to what they felt was an abrupt termination. They also collected signatures for a paper petition in support of Carpenter.

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At publishing time, 98 people had signed the online petition that Arielle Warner started. Warnes is a LMSA senior and 2023 student council leader. 

“When Abdul Muhammad introduced himself to the Lindblom community, he stated that there was no intention of changing the school’s environment and that he would be learning from staff, students, and alumni about the culture of Lindblom. Who better to learn from than the Assistant Principal who helped us before, during, and after COVID-19 made us virtual? This decision caused conversations in the Lindblom community, many involving the alumni, students, and staff that he claimed he wanted to protect,” according to the petition.  “We were left wondering how we could trust him after he’d done this. We held conversation after conversation with and without him about our plan of action and gave him multiple chances to explain himself. Abdul Muhammad failed to do so.”

In both the online petition and speeches during the Aug. 22 walkout, students said they want “Mama Eagle” back in the nest. Carpenter is also known as Mama Eagle after Lindblom’s eagle mascot.

is a multimedia producer for The TRiiBE.