CPS protests, marches continue

May 20, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Hundreds marched from two locations on the West Side and ended up at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago, while hundreds more marched from two locations on the South Side to meet up with those at Daley Plaza.

Nearly two dozen people were arrested in the protest at City Hall.

Twenty-three people were arrested after blocking City Hall elevators in a school closing sit-in. It was a day of planned protests and marches by the Chicago Teachers Union and community groups.

Emanuel is determined to close dozens of schools despite public hearings and an almost daily protest.

"As long as voters and taxpayers marching, and future voters and taxpayers marching, saying that we will not stand for injustice of Black and Latino voters, there will be hope," said student protester Beatrice Ebijimi.

Fifty-four schools are on the list to close. The hope is that City Hall and the school board will back off on a few.

"The board feels strongly that many have to be closed," said Chicago School Board member Andrea Zopp.

Zopp said the list is not a done deal. She says school board members have been looking at each school individually in detail before this week's vote.

"The board is going to be, much to everyone's surprise, an independent board that will make their decisions based on what they think are the best decisions," said Zopp.

While the board may take a few off the list, education expert Linda Lenz does not understand why so many at once.

"I don't know why you have to all of these schools right now, when they don't save money. It's just aggravating the chaos out there," she said.

The action follows a third day of save Our Schools marches in Chicago's neighborhoods.

"If they continue closing the schools a lot of people are going to be affected. Stop closing schools," said parent Lourdes Gonzalez.

Monday's march to protest the proposed closings began on the city's West Side at Peabody Elementary School.

It's unclear if it's one of the 13 of the 54 schools slated for closure that could get a reprieve.

"Our test scores for the last eight years have been on the rise. We offer enrichment programs that no other school in this are offers. Our kids go to selective enrollment high schools year after year," said Peabody Elementary teacher Lisa Lane.

The Chicago Board of Education will vote on the plan Wednesday, which was proposed by Chicago Public School officials and supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

At a North Side school, students joined the protest by releasing balloons at the end of their school day.

Afterward, marchers walked to Daley Plaza for Monday's rally.

Those attending the rally heard from parents and students who would be affected by any particular closing of schools throughout the Chicago area.

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