CHICAGO – It’s the worst feeling, said Paula Bullard, mother of five, when you have to tell your children that their school is closing. Bullard’s children go to South Chicago elementary in the South Shore neighborhood. Their school is one of 16 public schools the Chicago Board of Education has recently decided to close, consolidate or revamp next fall.
CHICAGO — Hundreds of teachers, parents, students, union leaders and local activists rallied here Jan. 28th at the Chicago Board of Education building against the board’s plan to close, consolidate, phase out and “turn around” more than 20 schools. Protesters led a march downtown chanting, with signs in hand, speaking out against the measure which, they say, will displace students and teachers, throw communities in turmoil, put hundreds out of work and undermine public education in Chicago.
In March of this year, many of us watched in horror a nationally broadcast videotape of 5-year-old Ja’eisha Scott being handcuffed by police officers and tearfully taken away for throwing a temper tantrum at school. Far from being an anomaly, Ja’eisha, a kindergartener at Fairmount Park Elementary School in St. Petersburg, was yet another casualty of Florida’s policy of criminalizing children for an overly broad range of conduct at school.