Hundreds of Chicago teachers, school staff and parents shut down traffic in the heart of the city on Wednesday to protest the closing of 54 public schools.
The Chicago Teachers Union organized the protest after Chicago Public Schools announced last week the district would close the “underutilized” schools and move students to higher-performing schools, which will likely result in some teachers losing their jobs.
“We intend to rally, united and strong… to send a signal that we are sick and tired of being bullied and betrayed. Some of us are going to put our bodies on the line—because a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” union president Karen Lewis said in a statement last week.
Dozens of protesters sat in front of the city hall during rush hour and refused to budge, CBS Chicago reported, then applauded by the other protesters when they were arrested. Even the Rev. Jesse Jackson showed up to join the rally.
The teachers union claimed there were 7,000 at the rally. Chicago Police estimated there were closer to 700 — “A discrepancy of a mere tenfold,” CBS Chicago’s Brad Edwards noted.