Chicago City Council to vote on resolution demanding cease-fire, release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Hundreds of Chicago Public Schools students walked out of class Friday to protest the Israel-Hamas war and call for a cease-fire in Gaza.
The bulk of the students were outside for about an hour, with some sticking around longer. They gathered close to the front entrance, taking turns speaking on the megaphone. Then the nearly 200 students began marching and chanting around school property.
At Lane Tech High School, school security was present the entire time, so, the district said, students could express their First Amendment rights safely.
Similar crowds of students also walked out of Curie Metro High School in Archer Heights, Westinghouse High School in Humboldt Park and Jones College Prep in the South Loop.
"It's an atrocity that so many innocent people are dying and being bombed and killed," said Lexa Land.
Those students then to the CTA to City Hall to protest, and blocked traffic at one point on Randolph.
"I understand what it's like to be oppressed, but I've never been oppressed on this level, and I want to make sure nobody ever has to be again," said Lukas Sheves.
The Anti-Defamation League said student walkouts like these and other protests across the city the last several months have been rife with antisemitism, and potentially make Jewish student feel unsafe.
CPS CEO Pedro Martinez released a statement saying in part, "We are a District that is committed to student voice and student participation in civic life and democracy, but harassment, discrimination, and bias-based harm have no place in our school communities."
The walkouts come a day before the Chicago City Council will vote on a resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, along with the release of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas.
Passage of that resolution is far from a sure thing. It faces opposition from several alderpersons.
It is supported by some union leaders and the Rainbow PUSH coalition, which, in a letter to city leaders, called the vote "a moment of moral reckoning."
But some say it is the wrong place at the wrong time.
"I can't water somebody else's grass or fix somebody's roof, and mine is leaking. My community is leaking. My community is bleeding," said 24th Ward Alderwoman Monique Scott.
Alderman Raymond Lopez, who represents the 15th Ward, also weighed in.
"And if we are going to to talk about ceasefire, we are going to talk about the carnage that's going on, maybe we should start with the carnage in our own streets," Lopez said.
Some Jewish groups have been urging alderpersons to vote "no" on the resolution. The measure has Mayor Brandon Johnson's support.