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Latino State News

UPDATE: :  Sit-in Held to Save Field House

UPDATE: On its third day, a sit-in by parents demanding a library for a Pilsen elementary school took several twists and turns—with police at one point threatening arrests, then abruptly leaving after more than 100 parents, students and teachers pushed past barricades to support the protesters

“Why are you treating us like criminals?” resident Gema Gaeta said when school liaison Sgt. Ramone Ferrer pushed the door open. “Go fight the real criminals.”.

CPS Chief Ron Huberman will meet with the parents as early as Monday, according to his office. The protestors say they have not received the exact date or time.

Original: Pilsen residents, mostly parents, staged a peaceful sit-in at the Whittier Elementary School, 1900 W. 23rd Street, protesting the scheduled demolish of the school’s field house.  The field house is owned by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and has been deemed structurally unsound therefore due to be taken down this fall.  Residents want to the building to be rehabbed and turned into a much needed library.  Monique Bond, spokesperson for CPS said “With the budgetary constraints we are under, nothing is going to happen.”

The protesters have been camped out at Whittier since Wednesday but have been requesting a library for even longer.  They say the school’s current library is too small and lacks books and substantial reading material for the children.  Parents are asking that the estimated $354,000 demolition cost be used to enhance the current in-school library or update classrooms if a field house rehab is out of the question.  School CEO Ron Huberman has not met with the protesters and was not willing to put a commitment to meet with them in writing.