The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Chicago Parents Occupy School Field House

Oct 11, 2010

Since September 15th, about a dozen parents have occupied the field house of Whittier Elementary, in Chicago’s mostly Hispanic Pilsen neighborhood. Chicago Public Schools had scheduled to demolish the field house, but the parents demand the building be kept open and converted to use as a library for the school.

Whittier Elementary, like 160 other schools in the Chicago Public School system, has no library.

Parents had been using the field house to meet, and to organize GED and other classes. Ron Huberman, “CEO” of the Chicago Public Schools, announced this building would be demolished. A closet – a closet! – in the school would be converted to a “parent room.” The field house would be replaced by a soccer field.

Fed up, a group of mothers organized and occupied the field house. They have taken turns, occupying and sleeping there in shifts for over two weeks now.

In one confrontation with the police, enough parents and students turned out to back the police off. Since then, parents collected books, and had volunteers organize them into a library there in the field house.

The school district has shut off the gas in an attempt to freeze the parents out. But the sit-in continues.

This arrogant school board, which says it thinks only about the students, and that it and only it knows best – wants to tell parents that they must choose between their students’ physical well-being and their mental and academic well-being. The students need both – in ALL 160 buildings that currently don’t have a library!