CHICAGO, Feb. 4 -- A published report says funds from a poverty program at Chicago's Roberto Clemente High School were used to support a Puerto Rican independence program and to free convicted terrorists. The Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday says the money helped turn the school into a hotbed of Puerto Rican nationalism underwritten by taxpayers.
For example, school poverty money was used in a fundraiser for the National Committee to Free Puerto Rican Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War, which was also held at the school. An internal School Board report obtained by the Sun-Times found that education of students was virtually ignored amidst the political climate and divisiveness at the West Side school. School sources told the newspaper that in some classrooms even the display of the American flag is forbidden. Speakers and artists brought in at school expense for Clemente programs frequently show up at rallies pushing for Puerto Rican independence. The Sun-Times investigation found that some school officers in charge of curriculum and finance have ties to the National Liberation Movement, an organization whose goal is to free more than a dozen people imprisoned for killing five people and injuring more than 70 in dozens of bombings and armed attacks since 1974. Acting principal Edward Negron says he stopped scheduling radical speakers from Puerto Rico seven months ago. He also says he ordered a $3,000 shipment of American flags that has yet to arrive. Negron says he supports independence for Puerto Rico but is not a member of MLN or of the Armed Forces of National Liberation, known by the Spanish acronym FALN, the now-dormant terrorist group responsible for the bombings.