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Parents Occupy Classroom To Protest School Closings

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Protesters and police inside Lafayette Elementary school. (Credit: OCPress/Twitter)

Protesters and police inside Lafayette Elementary school. (Credit: OCPress/Twitter)

CHICAGO (CBS) — Parents took over a classroom at Lafayette Elementary to protest the city’s plan to shut down the school after this year.

Wednesday was the last day of classes at the school, 2714 W. Augusta Blvd.


Nine parents occupied one of the classrooms, demanding that Mayor Emanuel and the school board reverse their decision. Some school-age children were also inside the classroom, but it was unclear if they attend Lafayette. The parents have now left the school.

Lafayette is one of 49 under-performing or under-utilized elementary schools that will not reopen next year.

“Closing Lafayette will kill our neighborhood and our families,” says Rousemary Vega, one of the parent occupiers. “We demand that this school stay open. We demand to keep our music programs, and our special ed program. We’re not leaving until this school is saved.”

The Humboldt Park neighborhood school serves Pre-K to eighth grade students.

CPS and Emanuel propose Lafayette students be displaced to Chopin Elementary, seven blocks away, where the future of Lafayette’s Merit School of Music program is uncertain, as is the program for autistic children, the parents said.

At Chalmers Elementary School, 2745 W Roosevelt Road, 30 parents were protesting on the last day.

“We know this is a difficult time for some parents and students,” said CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure every child in every neighborhood has access to the high quality education they deserve and that they have a smooth transition to their welcoming school.”

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