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South Shore Family Continues Protest Against Teachers’ Strike

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Leon Alexander (left) and his family stage a small counter-protest against the Chicago teachers' strike on a street corner in the South Shore neighborhood on Sept. 10, 2012. Alexander said he shares teachers' concerns, but believes a strike exploits children to get teachers what they want from the school district. (Credit: CBS)

Leon Alexander (left) and his family stage a small counter-protest against the Chicago teachers’ strike on a street corner in the South Shore neighborhood on Sept. 10, 2012. Alexander said he shares teachers’ concerns, but believes a strike exploits children to get teachers what they want from the school district. (Credit: CBS)

Mai Martinez Mai Martinez
Mai Martinez co-anchors CBS 2 Chicago’s weekend evening newscasts and...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Another day of teachers striking meant another day of students out of school, and one South Shore family took their displeasure with the walkout to the streets of Chicago.

CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, for a second day, the Alexander family was protesting outside Edward Coles Elementary Language Academy. They weren’t joining picketing teachers, but instead criticizing the teachers’ decision to strike.

“We can’t just sit at home, and let this happen to our children. Getting angry at home is not saying anything for these children,” Terrilyn Alexander said. “What bothers me is the selfishness of the teachers and the [Chicago Teachers Union}. The fact is, there should never be a reason to keep children out of school.”

The Alexanders have received mixed reactions to their one-family protest, but they said they’re not backing down.

Leon Alexander said, “I say that our children should be back in school, and that … no one should advance themselves on the backs of our children.”

The Alexander children weren’t exactly thrilled with their real life civics lessons, but they said their education is worth fighting for.

Eleven-year-old Ausar Alexander said, “If I don’t go to school, I’m not going to get the knowledge to grow up to be smart, and to do what I want.”

His 8-year-old sister, Princess Alexander, said she thinks the strike is hurting her education, “Because I might not get to learn everything, and then I might be kept behind.”

To make sure that doesn’t happen, the Alexander dining room has been transformed into the family’s classroom. The parents have been assigning four hours of schoolwork each day for all three kids.

“When they go back to school, we want them running when they go in the classroom,” Leon Alexander said. “Everything is about them being ready, when the opportunity presents itself.”

Princess said, if she could talk to the adults in charge of what’s going on with the strike, she would tell them, “I wish I could go back to school, and I hope that they get enough money for all the stuff they need.”

The Alexanders said they support the teachers’ fight for a fair contract, they just don’t support the teachers decision to go on strike to get one. They said, as long as teachers are on strike, they’ll continue their protest of the CTU.

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