Parents End 34-Day Hunger Strike, but They Aren't Done

Chicago protesters plan to keep up fight for 'green tech' school
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2015 1:04 PM CDT
Protesters who want to control the future of Dyett High School protest and block elevators in the lobby of Chicago City Hall on Sept. 3, 2015.   (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune via AP)

(Newser) – Protesting parents in Chicago ended their 34-day hunger strike on Saturday—not because they're giving up their battle over a high school in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, but because they want to have the strength to keep fighting. "We decided that we will feed our bodies so that until we win sustainable community schools for all of our children, the mayor and [Chicago Public Schools] won't get a moments [sic] rest," read a Facebook post from one of the activists on Saturday, per DNAinfo. What the protesters were seeking: the reopening of the shuttered Dyett High School—which school district officials say was shut down because of declining enrollment and lackluster performance, per the AP—as a "green technology" high school. Though CPS announced this month it would agree to reopen Dyett as an arts-focused school, activists decided to continue the strike, WBEZ reports.

A number of the strikers' demands have been met, the station notes, including that all kids who live in the attendance area will now be able to attend the school without taking an admissions test or entering a lottery; the curriculum will boast a technology component; and the school won't be privatized. But that's not enough, with parents telling the Chicago Tribune the concessions don't feel like total victory in a plan they say still short-changes South Side kids due to racial disparity. They want even more of a green-tech and global leadership focus and the chance to help pick the principal, the paper notes. Still, the high-profile hunger strike—even Mayor Rahm Emanuel got dragged into it—got to be too much, with one activist telling the Tribune: "Your body starts to deteriorate." (Read more Chicago stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |