CTU to file civil rights suits lawsuits over CPS school closings - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

CTU to file civil rights suits lawsuits over CPS school closings

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Attorneys for the Chicago Teachers Union filed several federal lawsuits Wednesday, arguing the closing of 53 elementary schools discriminates against African-American children and those with disabilities.

The civil rights suits were filed on behalf of the parents of Chicago Public School students affected by the Board of Education's plan to close the schools and aims to keep the doors open.

One suit states that: "By putting off their decision on the closings to the eleventh hour, or the very end of the school year—for the largest closing of public schools in American history—the defendants place the plaintiff children and other children in special education at far greater risk than their non-disabled peers."

Another suit states that since 2001, 72 schools have closed with 90 percent of those displaced African American.

"Thousands of these children were homeless or suffered from extreme poverty and lived in racially isolated neighborhoods," the suit states, reflecting on a decade of closings.

Looking ahead, "The closings help to continue the historic racial segregation of these children—and add to it a form of economic segregation worse than in former decades," the suit states.

CPS responded by saying the lawsuits do not put children first.

"Too many children today are trapped in underutilized, under-resourced schools cheating them of the investments they need to succeed in the classroom," according to the statement from CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll.

"Instead of offering up solutions, CTU continues to protect a status quo that doesn't put our children first. Consolidating underutilized schools is necessary to give children the resources they need to access a quality, 21st century education," the statement said.

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