School Administrators Use Spring Break to Protest in Chicago

Spring break is typically a time for students, teachers and administrators to kick up their feet, spend time with their families, go on vacation, or dedicate some extra time to studying, but this year’s spring break in Chicago was different. On March 27, more than 100 teachers, principals, school administrators and other opponents gathered arm-in-arm in front of City Hall, preparing for potential arrest and chanting “save our schools” in response to the mass school closures announced March 21.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent announcement of the 54 public school closures has jarred the city of Chicago, taking the cake as the largest school shutdown in the country’s history, but many are refusing to accept what Emanuel is calling a “done deal.”

“There are many ways that you can show that this is not over,” Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told protesters as they filled a full city block. “On the first day of school you show up at your real school. Don’t let these people take your school.”

“Rahm Emanuel has become the ‘murder mayor,’” Lewis said during her speech at the rally. “He is murdering public services. Murdering our ability to maintain public sector jobs and now he has set his sights on our public schools.”

Adding to the fight against the closures at the rally was a group of Chicago ministers who delivered a letter asking Emanuel to halt the plans they say will change the entire inner city atmosphere of Chicago.

Those who were arrested at the rally included Gloria Warner, a grandmother of two Chicago Public School (CPS) students, who said, “We need the mayor and CPS to invest in our schools, not take them away. We need our schools for the safety of our children.”

Jonathan Hollingsworth III, a lunchroom manager for CPS, who voted for Emanuel, said during the rally, “He’s downsizing everything in the damn city. It’s take it or leave it. Keep this in mind: come election time, all of these people will have the last laugh.”

This “downsize,” will result in 6,000 teachers losing their jobs throughout inner city Chicago, not to mention the relocation of 30,000 students.

There are three public hearings currently scheduled for April, and the board of education will vote on the proposed closings in May. Lewis emphasized the importance of attending April’s public hearings.

“Why are we going through this sham of hearings if it’s all over?” she asked. “It’s not over, brothers and sisters, until you say it is over.”

 

Created by:  DeAnna Rich

Created by: DeAnna Rich