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Parents end protest of CPS turnaround school

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A group of about 50 parents and students ended their sit-in protest at a Chicago Public School early Saturday with the promise of a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and school board officials.

The group began their protest Friday afternoon at Gresham Elementary School at 8524 S. Green Street in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood.

They refused to leave the school until their concerns were heard by the school board.

A school board vote last month designated this a turnaround school, which means outside management and new teachers.

And the parents claim this school doesn’t need turning around.

They crafted a letter, stating their case, that they’ve sent all the way to President Obama and First Lady Michele Obama asking them to step in.

These parents, with plenty of backing -if not an actual push- from the Chicago Teachers Union say they know what’s best for their kids.

Before she was a Gresham parent, Tiffany Walker was a Gresham student. “Oh yeah- it’s all about money. It’s money. It’s politics and it’s race,” she said.

“When they take this school- what will we have in our neighborhood?”

It’s a neighborhood that’s lost a lot, they say, in not many years but in spite of that, parents claim students here have made gains that fly in the face of the plans that are in store for turnaround schools in Chicago.

On that, Gresham’s principal is proud to agree.

Dr. Diedrus Brown, Principal, Gresham Elementary “Yes, I support my parent group. I support their sit-in and I will support every activity that they recommend because it is their school.”

Friday night, Chicago Police officers showed up at the school.

CPS Chief Safety and Security Officer Jadine Chou also visited the school and listened to the parents.    She left a short time later.

Several parents left the school at about 10:30pm to address the media outside.  When they tried to return inside, several police officers blocked their way.

Just after midnight, the group packed up and left with the promise that they would meet with CPS officials on Tuesday.

Many of the protestors plan to attend a rally Saturday to mark the 60th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.

That ruling desegregated the nation’s schools, essentially saying separate schools for black and white children were inherently unconstitutional.

A rally celebrating the 60th anniversary will be held Saturday at Nathaniel Pope Elementary School at 1852 S. Albany Avenue in the Lawndale neighborhood.






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