CPS parents drop kids at safe haven sites

September 10, 2012 (CHICAGO)

  • 'Children First' childcare info: 144 sites open to children during the strike
  • At Ray Elementary, a strike is something the school's principal has been preparing for the past 10 days.

    "The key staff is the assistant principals from surrounding schools so they will know staff members," said Tatia Beckwith, Principal, Ray School.

    Chicago Public Schools opened 'Children First' childcare info: 144 sites at schools around the city. The point is to provide four hours of activities and food for kids that need a place to go.

    "We played a few games, we tried to watch a movie but the speakers were not working," said David Okabe, 8th Grade CPS student.

    And then it was time to go home. The safe haven sites are only open until 12:30 p.m. For many parents and grandparents that are pitching in to help, a long strike is going to be a big problem.

    "Of course, it is hard for us," said Zoya Sipen, grandparent of CPS student. "I'm 70-73 years old. Who will help if not me?"

    "I work from home. I'm a translator," said Will Evans, parent. "I'm hoping for a resolution quickly."

    So are other parents who chose to send their kids Monday to churches. Many churches opened their doors to CPS students including Armitage Baptist on the West Side. Its pastor is holding what he is calling the freedom school, which is being staffed with real teachers.

    "This is a great program," said Eric Hernandez, parent. "At least it allows us some level of education, part time."

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