Jamie Ford is a New York Times bestselling author who recently spoke at Highland Park High School as part of HP’s “Litfest,” that invites authors and writers to speak to students.
Unfortunately, the audience that gathered to listen to Ford speak was not the most accommodating, to say the least. Things were going well, all things considered, until the crowd began clapping while Ford was speaking. He wrote of his experience at the school on his website saying, “”Then as I opened my mouth to speak again—you began clapping. As I tried to answer questions you began clapping. For twenty minutes, as I tried to wrap up my presentation, you clapped and cheered randomly, a thousand students, trolling me.”
Ford praised the staff, the event’s volunteer organizers, and the students who approached him with apologies on behalf of the student body. However, he still called HP a school full of kids who are “basically corrupt politicians in the making and future date rapists.”
Highland Park released a statement regarding that incident that reads:
HP LitFest is a wonderful and invaluable annual event that has brought Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, and National Book Award winners to Highland Park High School. It is a hallmark partnership between our school and community, which allows our students and teachers to interact with dozens of writers and artists from around the world each year.
Unfortunately, the behavior of some of our students during this year’s keynote presentation was not at the standard that we expect. We value the current and past authors who make this event possible, and we will work with our students to improve as a result of this experience.