Skip to main content Western Springs, IL Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills, IL Burr Ridge, IL Oak Brook, IL Forest Park, IL Darien, IL Downers Grove, IL Oak Park-River Forest, IL Elmhurst, IL Oak Lawn, IL Illinois Top National News See All Communities LA GRANGE, IL — A conservative group of Lyons Township High School students wants to
LA GRANGE, IL — A conservative group of Lyons Township High School students wants to become an official club at the school, but it has yet to submit a complete application, according to the school.
Meanwhile, Lyons Township junior George Taylor is among the leaders of the effort pushing the school to reject Turning Point USA as a school club. An online petition against a school chapter of the group has drawn more than 500 signatures.
This is happening at a school where former student body President Nicholas Fuentes graduated in 2016. He is now a nationally known white nationalist who airs his views in a podcast and on YouTube. Fuentes has feuded with Turning Point.
Patch has obtained communications between Turning Point representatives and school officials since October 2019. Turning Point says its mission is to “educate students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government.”
In a mid-January email, a student supporter of Turning Point notified Paul Geddeis, the school’s activities director, that Turning Point had just approved the local group as a chapter. The student, whose name was redacted in public records, said the group had turned in a proposal to the school and had a Lyons Township teacher who agreed to be a sponsor. (The teacher was not identified.)
In response, Geddeis said the group would have no affiliation with the school until the Stipend Committee approved it for pilot status. He said the group could use no school resources to promote itself.
He said he was sure the process was frustrating, but it would give the group a chance to fine-tune its proposal for the committee.
In early February, a student supporter of Turning Point told Geddeis in an email that the chapter had been going “pretty well” considering that it had only used personal social media to promote its virtual meetings.
“However, we think we could do a lot better if we made something like flyers to get people to come to meetings. Now I know you said we can’t use anything associated with LT to promote it and handing out flyers could be considered using LT resources, but I just thought that it’d be a good idea to ask,” the student said. “If you could just let me know if we’d be allowed to make flyers to pass out before or after school, that would be great.”
Geddeis responded that flyers could be posted on the community activities bulletin board at each of the school’s two campuses. He said he would need to approve the flyer and that he would post it.
“Passing out flyers to students before or after school is not allowed,” Geddeis said.
In a January email, the student told Geddeis that the student newspaper wanted to interview the group’s members.
“Would we be able to do it?” the student asked.
Geddeis said the students should feel free to answer questions.
In October 2019, Bobby McNeily, then a Turning Point leader in the Midwest, emailed Paul Houston, Lyons Township’s social studies division chairman, saying students had received “some pushback” on efforts to start a chapter. He clarified the group’s mission for fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government.
In an email, Houston asked Geddeis if he knew anything about the effort to form a group.
Geddeis said he had not. He said an effort to form another conservative group, Young America’s Foundation, happened the previous year. The Stipend Committee pushed for the group to be nonpartisan, so it became the nonpartisan Political Engagement Club, Geddeis said. It was approved for pilot status, he said, “but I don’t believe anything has come of it.”
A Turning Point spokesman has not returned messages for comment.
The rules of replying:
- Be respectful. This is a space for friendly local discussions. No racist, discriminatory, vulgar or threatening language will be tolerated.
- Be transparent. Use your real name, and back up your claims.
- Keep it local and relevant. Make sure your replies stay on topic.
- Review the Patch Community Guidelines.