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Parents occupy school, demand to talk with Rahm

Updated: March 19, 2012 10:12AM

Just days before the Chicago Board of Education is expected to vote whether to replace the staff at 10 under-performing schools, angry parents occupied one of those schools Friday night, saying they would refuse to leave until Mayor Rahm Emanuel agrees to discuss their objections to the board’s “turn-around” plans.

About 30 parents occupied Brian Piccolo Elementary Specialty School in Humboldt Park, after showing up outside the mayor’s office earlier in the day and failing to get a meeting with him.

The Board of Education’s vote on the turn-around plans for 10 schools and the closure of two other schools is set for Wednesday.

A group of parents set up a half-dozen tents Friday night outside the school at 1040 N. Keeler, while others remained inside. The parents object to the mayor’s plan to hand over management of the school to the privately run Academy for Urban School Leadership.

They held signs that read, “We do not need AUSL.” Another one plastered to the front door read, “Stop Playing Politrix With Our Schools.”

“They have a new principal,” said Shronda Wilson, whose two kids, ages 5 and 7, attend the school. “They haven’t given her a chance. She has come here from the beginning of the school year and done a tremendous job. They have good teachers here.”

Late Friday, CPS officials said they had not decided whether to evict the parents.

“We really respect the parents’ passion for their children’s education,” said CPS spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler. But “year after year Piccolo has failed students. Its our responsibility . . . to put the academic needs of the students first.”

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