The School Board, The Police, and The Parents — from Substance News

[The Chicago School Board called on the Chicago police to enforce their ruling to demolish a building parents want to be used as a library! This is NOT a story from The Onion.  The following report, from Substance News, explains the context.  As of Saturday, September 18, the parents were holding steady.  Those who are able are encouraged to visit Camp Whittier to offer encouragement, bring donations of food and drink, and spend time to show the city that these parents are not alone. Note also at the bottom of this entry two related items of importance. — Lew Rosenbaum]

Community breaks police blockade, ‘Camp Whittier’ gets a third night to demand a library for the children

George N. Schmidt – September 17, 2010

It could have been a scene from the blacklisted movie “Salt of the Earth,” or from any of a dozen other films that depict the struggles of working people. But it was happening in real time in Chicago in 2010, and once again a group of working people, most of them women and children, broke a police blockade and thwarted attempts by Ron Huberman and the people who rule Chicago’s public schools to demolish a simple wooden building just west of the century old Whittier Elementary School on Chicago’s Southwest side.

Part of the crowd celebrating the departure of Chicago police from the Whittier Elementary School field house at approximately 3:00 p.m. on September 17, 2010. The protesters above had defied a police cordon and swarmed down 23rd St. to the site of the protest just before police were to move in and arrest the mothers who had been occupying the field house for two nights and days. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.

The stage had been set all day, as Chicago police, acting on orders from two Chicago Public Schools officials, CPS Communications Chief Monique Bond and CPS Security Chief Michael Shields, prepared to arrest a small group of protesters, most of them mothers, who had occupied the Whittier Elementary School fieldhouse in the 1900 block of west 23rd St., to stop the demolition of the structure. The community wants the building turned into a library. The Board of Education wants to demolish and turn into a soccer field primarily for the use of a parochial school (Cristo Rey) nearby.

The word had spread at “Camp Whittier” that the Chicago police were going to force the protesters out of the Whitter field house and arrest those who refused to leave. (Read the entire story here)

Note also:  Labor Express Radio (WLUW 10 AM Monday) will have a report from Camp Whittier:
On this Monday’s episode of Labor Express Radio

The back to school edition of Labor Express Radio. First will hear about the Siege of La Casita. For most of the past week, parents of children at the Whittier school in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood and their community allies, have occupied a field house on the school’s grounds day and night. CPS plans to demolish the building which is used currently used as an activity center for the school’s children. On Friday, the parents faced off with the Chicago Police and in the end it was the police who retreated.

Will also hear about a planned rally by the Chicago Teachers Union for downtown Chicago next Tuesday and about organizing of charter school teachers in the city.

And lastly will hear about plans for a massive march planned for Washington D.C. Oct. 2nd demanding money for jobs and not war.

Also : Rally for Education Rights
Chicago Parents and Teachers, Unite!

Tuesday, September 21
4:00 PM at Daley Plaza
Washington & Dearborn Streets
Across from City Hall

Chicago Educators, Parents, and Students Demand:

  • Mayor Daley give $350 million in TIF surplus back to schools!
  • CPS end overcrowding and guarantee stable classes!
  • The Board rehire 1,000 seasoned educators with the Federal Education Jobs Bill funds!
  • The Board stop turnarounds and closings and promote school safety.

For more information please contact:


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