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Parents Increasingly Worried About How To Handle Teachers’ Strike

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Tiffany Williams, Savion William Hondras

While Savion William Hondras (right) seems to be ambivalent about a teacher strike, his mother, Tiffany Williams, says it will cause a lot of difficulty for her. (Credit: CBS)

Mike Puccinelli Mike Puccinelli
Mike Puccinelli serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — As the clock counts down for negotiations and teachers talk about plans for a possible strike, parents and children alike are increasingly worried about what a walkout will mean for them.

As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, Savion William Hondras was having a grand time at the Open Streets festival on State Street downtown Saturday, as he hopped to first place in a potato sack race.

But Savion, a fifth grader, doesn’t know if his school will be open on Monday.

When asked if he was going to be disappointed if he’d have to miss school because of a strike, Savion hesitated and replied, “Yeah.”

But while Savion’s may not be 100 percent sure about how he feels about a strike, his mother, Tiffany Williams, has no such hesitation.

“I’m very worried; very concerned; really don’t have any backup plans if school goes on strike,” Williams said. “So that does put me in a dilemma.”

Williams is not alone. In all, more than 400,000 thousand children and their families will be affected if more than twenty five thousand teachers walk off the job on Monday.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. said a strike would be a disaster that will make a Chicago look like the poster child for urban problems. His message to negotiators was about as subtle as a sledgehammer.

“Lock the door, and stay in the room until smoke comes out the window. Don’t leave until the matter is resolved,” Jackson said. “Do not risk disrupting the city, county and state because somebody cannot work out some angle. Work it out. Don’t give up. Work it out.”

But at strike headquarters, the signs were being prepared and teachers and their supporters were rallying ahead of what would be the first strike by Chicago’s teachers in a generation.

The head of the Service Employees International Union Local 1 says his thirty thousand Chicago members will be showing their support on their sleeves.

“Our members who have to work and go in, they will be wearing red kerchiefs on their arms, or their heads, or their necks. That’s to celebrate the teachers’ struggle, and that’s to signify that we stand with the teachers 100 percent,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff.

Williams says she hasn’t taken a side in the fight. But she says a strike will be a huge hassle for her and her 10-year-old son.

She says she might ask a neighbor to look after Savion, or even take him to work.

The teachers’ walkout is set for 12:01 a.m. Monday if no agreement is reached before then.

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