Fight over first day of school continues

Pastors push boycott; CPS calls for attendance
CHICAGO The boycott is spearheaded by Senator James Meeks, who is also pastor at a South Side church. The Rev. Meeks is demanding state officials address education funding because wealthy communities spend thousands of dollars more on each student than poorer communities.

On Tuesday, ministers shifted into high gear for the September 2 school boycott of Chicago Public Schools and signed up families for the boycott.

"I'm not saying we don't want our children to go to school. We're saying we don't want our children to return to a second-class school," said Rev. Roosevelt Watkins

"I'm still going to go to school who matter what he says," said Shawanda Bridges, CPS student

Also on Tuesday, school officials, clergy and community leaders gathered outside Bowen High School campus to ask students and parents to ignore the school boycott. CEO Arne Duncan said state education funding must be addressed by adults and that school children should not be used in the funding debate.

"Adults have to fight the adult battles. Let's not use children,"s aid Arne Duncan, CEO Chicago Public Schools

"I want to be clear that I stand 100%-- students be in school September 2!," Father Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina Church.

"It's important they go to the first day of school because that's where our funding comes in," said Maria Cacho, CPS parent.

On Tuesday, CEO Duncan also asked parents to escort children to and from school to make for a safe passage throughout the year.

"The Chicago Police Department is proud to play a vital role in creating a safe environment where students examine learn and go up," said First Deputy James Jackson, Chicago Police Dept.

"Parents should be involved, too," said Maria Vargas, CPS parent

"It's important to go to the first day of school. And, not only the first day, but every day" said Maria Estrada, CPS student.

CPS has invested more than $50 million in security measures at schools across the district. Some of these measures include surveillance cameras inside and outside of school buildings, along with several metal detectors and x-ray machines.

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