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Occupy Piccolo! Chicago Communities Occupy School In Protest of Privatization

By • Feb 19th, 2012 • Category: News & Analysis


Source: http://occupywallst.org

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Chicago police have arrived on the scene as of 1:45PM Central Time. Around a dozen people remain inside the school, with a large crowd rallying outside. The occupiers have been holding the school since 5PM yesterday and are still being denied food and medicine by the police. A busload of teachers have shown up to show solidarity.


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The Brian Piccolo Specialty School in Humboldt Park, Chicago is currently Occupied by parents, teachers, and students. Occupy Chicago and other allies are outside the building in solidarity and have set up an encampment. Around one hundred people are present and are taking shifts to ensure the safety of the occupation. The Chicago Teachers Union has expressed support for the action. Piccolo, an elementary school with a student body that is almost entirely from low income communities of color, is one of 16 Chicago public schools slated to be closed by Mayor Rahm’s service cuts to the poor.

As of 3:30AM Central Time, it is believed that Chicago Police have decided to leave and protesters have declared victory for Day 1 of Occupied Piccolo! If you are in Chicago, please come to 1040 North Keeler Avenue to show your support, and bring a tent! Follow #takebackourschools, #piccolo, @OccupyChicago and @TBOurSchoolsChi on Twitter.

Update: As of 10AM Central Time on 2/18, the police are still not attempting to remove protesters inside. However, they will not allow anyone else inside, and will not allow occupiers to leave and return. Parents and occupiers inside are being denied food and medicine.

Declaration #1 from Piccolo Occupation
11:49pm – February 17th, 2012

We, the Piccolo Occupation, are putting our childrens’ education first. Piccolo has failed because CPS has refused to invest in public education. The school has struggled for years but you have taken out all the programs, classes and opportunities to learn. We have had 3 principals in the last five years.We have not been able to work with anyone on a long-term basis to address the chronic disinvestment in our school. CPS and City Hall have failed us and our children. Your goal is to privatize the education system by giving it to corporations that support the mayor. We have been ignored, you have ignored our children and now you are trying to make money off of them.

The Chicago Public Schools is in violation of its own remediation and probation policy. CPS is in violation of the Illinois School Code and the Illinois Civil Rights Act. CPS is in violation of Illinois Senate Bill 630. Because of this, a moratorium has been introduced in the Illinois Legislative Assembly by the School Facilities Taskforce. We are enacting our moratorium for ourselves with this sit-in due to the fact that CPS not once has laid out the necessary corrective action for Brian Piccolo or Paolo Cassals along with the Local School Councils for getting them off of probation during the last five years. The School Improvement Plans for Academic Achievement (SIPAA) at these two schools have lacked the budgetary resources to bridge the achievement gap of our student populations. Further, the SIPAAs along with the budgets at the time of their signings have not had real community input. Therefor, these actions could very well be civil rights violations. At the recent CPS hearings, the former principle of Cassals testified that not once in the last five years had CPS met with her nor with the LSC about any of the necessary corrective action for Paola Cassals to be removed off of probation.

Because CPS has been not willing to meet with or listen to us, this is what we want:

1) A meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel

2) A meeting with at least five of the Chicago School Board members present

3) The removal of Piccolo and Cassals from the turnaround list

Labor


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