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Best-Selling Author Says He Was 'Trolled' By Highland Park High School Students

Jamie Ford
Ford posted this picture to his personal website, captioning it "the calm before the storm."

A best-selling author says he was disrupted by students at an assembly at Highland Park High School. Jamie Ford was the keynote speaker at the school district's LitFest last week.

Ford describes his experience at Highland Park High as a school visit gone sideways.

On his personal website, the New York Times bestselling author wrote about what happened as he spoke to hundreds of freshmen and sophomores.

Ford says things started off fine – but everything devolved as he answered questions. He says students clapped and cheered at random times.

Ford says teachers and the principal didn’t do anything to stop them.

Ford, who is Chinese-American, says students continued clapping and cheering, even after he discussed the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

The District Responds

Highland Park superintendent Tom Trigg has apologized to Ford. He and school board president Joe Taylor sent a statement to parents and staff Sunday night that has also been posted on the school district website.

They said the district has a lot to learn from the incident and also want to publicly apologize for the unacceptable behavior of students.

Ford says several students did seek him out after the assembly to say they were sorry about what happened.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.