BREAKING: Students-Parents Occupy Lafayette Elementary School

Around 3 p.m. this afternoon students, parents, and activists moved-in to occupy Lafayette Elementary School in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Volunteers blocked the doors to the school while the parents and students made their way into the school building to begin the occupation.

 

Lafayette’s last concert. Photo from DNAinfo.com

Earlier this month, the school performed it’s last concert for a very emotional and upset audience. These scenes of heartbreak and fractured communities are becoming all too common as Rahm Emmanuel continues to impose austerity through school closings, health facility closings, and all sorts of other cuts in public services. This ironic approach to “balancing the budget” is laughable in a state where two-thirds of corporations pay no income taxes.

“Closing Lafayette will kill our neighborhood and our families,” says Rousemary Vega, who is occupying a classroom at Lafayette Elementary. “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.” …nor should they. The favorite allotments of public tax dollars by our beloved mayor go to such badly needed things as high-end rental and condo units in neighborhoods with no real demand for them, and a $300 million basketball stadium for Depaul. Yes, our schools and institutions are getting closed while the likes of Depaul and Loyola Universities, and BJB Properties get nice slices of the tax pie through TIFs to push “business as usual” to an all new level of neoliberal budgetary scams. Guess who gets the bill, again?

So big deal that our children get shuffled around as our work days are made more stressful by sluggish CTA service, failing infrastructure, and anxiety-laden hoop-jumping in order to try and get our kids into a decent school (if you even can take the time away from the office); and affordable housing becomes an endangered species (despite being the original purpose for TIFS). Well…we know for sure Rahm Emmanuel doesn’t, unless Coca Cola wants to come in and buy up what’s left of a failed public program; with a nice little tax break to do it. If we could only see those corporate logos a few hundred more times a day, we might remember where all our money went. Then we would certainly buy more stuff.

Original Press Release:

Lafayette Elementary School Occupation – 2714 W. Augusta Blvd., Chicago
#LafayetteOccupation | #SaveOurSchools | @nini0179 (inside school) | @OCPress
BREAKING NEWS
For Immediate Release
Lafayette Parents, Students Overtake Lafayette Elementary School Classroom
to Halt School Closure on Last Day of Classes
Community calls on President Obama to overturn Mayor Emanuel’s School Closings
Chicago 6/19 2:45PM — Nine Lafayette Elementary parents and students have just peacefully occupied a school classroom, at 2714 W. Augusta Blvd., to demand Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked Chicago Board of Education reverse the school’s closing.
“Closing Lafayette will kill our neighborhood and our families,” says Rousemary Vega, who is occupying a classroom at Lafayette Elementary. “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. Lafayette School focuses on fine arts and music education, boasting an award-winning string orchestra in partnership with Merit School of Music, bilingual classrooms, and an autism cluster site. The school is home to 442 students in 2012, 97.7% from low-income homes. Emanuel and the Board of Education voted to close the school as one of 50 public school closures citing “underutilization,” population decline, and astronomical building maintenance costs. Those claims have been refuted by individual CPS auditors, the media, parents, and community members, who have all been ignored by Emanuel and the unelected Board of Education.
“We are at Lafayette Elementary to support the students and parents who are fighting to keep this school open,” says Denise Bisley, a parent from the Von Humbolt school. “Shame on Mayor Emanuel, and the Chicago Board of Education. This is a national problem. President Obama told us change was coming, and his buddy Mayor Emanuel has changed the city – closing our clinics, our schools, and wrecking our children’s futures.”
CPS and Emanuel propose Lafayette students be displaced to Chopin Elementary, seven blocks away, where the future of the Merit School of Music program is uncertain, as is the program for autistic children. Emanuel and the Board of Education have faced severe public backlash and outcry against the school closures.
- END -
Steal these tweets!
GET TO HUMBOLT PARK! LAFAYETTE ELEMENTARY IS OCCUPIED! Follow #LafayetteOccupation for breaking info | 2714 W. Augusta Blvd, Chicago
Parents overtake Lafayette School, demand reversal of #CPSclosings #LafayetteOccupation
Support #LafayetteOccupation against #onetermmayor #chicagoBully & #CPSclosings Bring food to 2714 W Augusta Blvd, #chicago
Food donations are encouraged and be dropped off at 2714 W Augusta Blvd #lafayetteOccupation
Fuck you @chicagosmayor @rahmemanuel! We’re taking over #LafayetteOccupation against #CPSclosings
#SaveOurSchools SUPPORT NEEDED at #LafayetteOccupation, 2714 W. Augusta Blvd #CPSclosings

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