Police lead school-closing opponents out of City Hall, 25 get tickets
BY JON SEIDEL AND MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA Staff Reporters May 20, 2013 2:48PM
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Updated: June 22, 2013 6:25AM
Chicago Police led away protesters Monday who blocked elevators in the lobby of City Hall after they vowed to “cause chaos in this city” to stop a sweeping school-closing plan.
Officers bound the protesters’ hands with plastic ties after warning them they’d be arrested if they didn’t leave. Ultimately, 25 protesters were ticketed for trespassing and released.
The protesters stood their ground and chanted, “Hey, Rahm, we’re no fools! We won’t let you close our schools!”
Also Monday, Chicago Public Schools officials released updated plans providing additional details of how the school system plans to address safety and the accommodations of special-needs students at nine closing schools.
Some of the reports detail turn-by-turn “Safe Passage” routes suggested for students to get to school. The routes will be lined by adults and patrolled by police, and improvements are to be made to sidewalks and buildings along the way. Schools will also get additional security, officers and equipment, such as a buzz-in door monitored by a camera at Jensen Elementary, 3030 W. Harrison, which is absorbing students from King Elementary, 740 S. Campbell. Some of the updated reports also details the number of special-education students and classroom accommodations for them and accessiblity upgrades.
The new information comes less than 48 hours before a Wednesday vote by the Chicago Board of Education on a plan to close 54 schools and 61 buildings, affecting 30,000 Chicago Public School students.
On Monday, hundreds of teachers, parents, students and members of community groups completed a Chicago Teachers Union-led “long march” against the closings. Protesters marched a cumulative 30-plus miles Saturday, Sunday and Monday, demonstrating at many of the schools targeted on the city’s South and West sides.
“This whole ordeal has been a slap in the face from the mayor of this city to black and brown children,” Sherise McDaniel, a mother of two students at Manierre Elementary, 1420 N. Hudson, said as protesters marching from the West Side stopped there Monday to release 54 balloons.
“This mayor wants our children to walk the front lines of the streets of Chicago. Well, we say to you, Mayor Emanuel and Barbara Byrd Bennett: This is not the end. We’re not done fighting.”
Contributing: Mitch Dudek