CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly a dozen demonstrators were arrested at City Hall late Tuesday night, after staging a sit-in for several hours to protest the looming closure of Dyett High School.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports the protesters accused Mayor Rahm Emanuel of condemning Dyett to a slow death by slating it to be phased out beginning in 2012.
This year, Dyett is down to only 13 seniors attending the school in Washington Park.
The protesters claimed Dyett is the only open-enrollment high school for the nearby Kenwood, Oakland, and Bronzeville neighborhoods.
Nearby King College Prep High School and Kenwood Academy High School are both selective-enrollment schools.
Activists said Dyett wouldn’t have been closed if the school had been located in Lakeview, or some other well-heeled area of the city. They also said Dyett was performing well until the mayor targeted it for closure.
Tuesday evening, a group of 11 protesters chained themselves to the George Washington statue outside the mayor’s office on the fifth floor of City Hall.
Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn confirmed the protesters were arrested after refusing to leave City Hall when the building closed Tuesday evening.
“City officials met with the group several times regarding their list of demands — and in fact agreed to the majority of them. Still, the group refused to leave, even after the building had closed at 6 p.m.,” she said in an email. “City officials continued to make additional concessions, but the group communicated to staff and police officers that regardless of any concessions, they wanted to be arrested.”
Quinn said police allowed the protesters to stay in the building until about 11:45 p.m., when they were arrested and charged with misdemeanor trespassing after again refusing to leave City Hall.
The mayor’s office did not specify the demands made by the protesters, or what demands were met.