Breaking News: UPDATE -- Piccolo parents continue to occupy school to oppose privatization to politically connected local firm
Urgent Update from Piccolo Elementary School Occupation
Live stream: http://ustre.am/EfN1 | Twitter follow tbourschoolschi and ctulocal1 | hashtag #piccolo
Undercover and uniformed police enter Piccolo public school occupation while CPS continues to deny parents access to medications and food.
One diabetic parent participating in occupation refuses to leave school despite threat to health.
1:15 PM, 2/18/12 -- Parents and students continue to occupy the Piccolo Elementary School building to oppose CPS plans to privatize the school, while Occupy Chicago and other allies have set up an encampment outside the building in solidarity. Parents inside the occupation report that police officers, including undercover officers, have now entered the building, and occupiers are being forced to cut audio on the live stream from the action out of fear of felony prosecution for audiotaping police activities.
After blocking occupiers from entering or leaving the building -- preventing parents from carrying out their scheduled shifts -- CPS security guards from the Central Office are denying one of the parents, a diabetic with high blood pressure, access to her multiple medications necessary to avoid serious health complications. CPS officials say she will have to leave the building to get access to her medication and that she will not be allowed back in. She is refusing to leave, saying, "I am here for the right cause and I am not giving up."
Friday afternoon, Piccolo Elementary parents held a press conference to defend their school -- and announce that they will occupy Piccolo to protest the Board of Education’s plans to vote on Wednesday to "turnaround" Piccolo and hand over management to AUSL, the Academy for Urban School Leadership. The privately connected firm has ties to City Hall. For the time being, you can follow what's happening on Occupy Chicago's UStream account.
"For months now, Piccolo parents have wanted their voices heard, but the mayor, CPS and members of the Board have given them a deaf ear," said CTU President Karen Lewis. "Tonight these courageous parents have decided to dramatize their efforts to save their school by engaging in non-violent protest. We stand in solidarity with them, as well as the thousands of parents and community leaders from other targeted communities, in our ongoing education justice fight. We call on CPS to invest in our under-resourced neighborhood schools and halt its plans to turn them over to AUSL or shut them down all together."
To support the parents of Piccolo, go to Piccolo School, 1040 N. Keeler. Bring friends, food, blankets, and water. Support Our Schools, Don’t Close Them!
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Click here to watch a video from the press conference.
Follow tbourschoolschi and ctulocal1 on Twitter for updates.