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Latino State News

UPDATE:  Heat Restored at Pilsen School Sit-in

Monday, Chicago Public Schools turned off the heat to an elementary school field house in which parents had taken up residence in protest of CPS’s decision to tear it down.

The City Council, Wednesday told CPS to postpone demolition of the Whittier Elementary School field house and restore the heat to the building.

CPS had ordered the field house demolished after it was deemed “unsafe” by an engineer they hired. Once gone, the space was to be turned into a soccer field, but parents are asking the building be repaired and turned into a library and parent center.  They have been taking turns in the building to press their demand.

Zoning Committee Chairman Danny Solis and Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke said a line was crossed in turning the heat off with night temperatures dropping into the 40’s.

Burke called the shut-off “cruel and short-sided” adding, “I don’t know what genius at the Board of Education made this decision. But, whoever it is ought to see what it’s like to live overnight in a 35-degree dwelling place. They ought to turn the gas back on and we ought to direct them to do so.”

Solis recommends that demolition of the field house be suspended until a third engineer makes an assessment, but that the sit-in will have to end before the inspection can be made.

“In the meantime, the Board of Education cannot make a very dumb mistake ... of turning off the gas because the issue of safety comes up again,” Solis said.