School Closings Violate Kids’ Civil Rights Say Bronzeville Parents

The school closings in Bronzeville are a civil rights violation, allege angry parents who children were forced to move to a school 22 blocks away after the Price Elementary School was closed last year. They claim it is a child’s right to be educated in their own neighborhood and that their children are being unfairly targeted with school closings. So far, 22 Bronzeville schools have closed or been consolidated since 2002.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times:

” Members of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization and of local school councils, who’ve filed Title VI civil rights complaints about previous school closures with the U.S. Justice Department, said that last year’s displacement of Price Elementary School students has resulted in numerous problems, including attacks on former Price kids around their new school.”

The group is calling for a meeting with US Attorney General Eric Holder and Chicago Public Schools Chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett. They want a network of community schools formed in Bronzeville and say the National Teacher’s Academy, which is four miles away from Price Elementary, is just too far away. They are also worried about their kids’ safety, says a report on Since the beginning of the school year, there have been three incidents involving former Price students. The latest, on Monday, sent one student to the hospital for medical treatment. While the Chicago Police Department promises the safety of all students sent to new schools, it’s not reassuring to parents.

In June, an additional 129 schools are slated for closure including another Bronzeville school, Reavis Elementary. The former Price Elementary School is now being used as a multi-use building, housing a church, a training center for a mentoring and tutoring organization, and as a headquarters for the Chicago Police Department’s K-9 training program. The dogs trained there will patrol schools.

The school closings have left Bronzeville parents with more questions than answers and their frustration levels are high. How would you feel if your child’s school was closed and they were forced to attend one further away? Do you think it would have a detrimental effect on your child’s learning? Why or why not?