Families and Teachers Shut Down School Board Meeting to Oppose School Closures

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Teachers, parents, students shut down a Sept. 25 school board meeting at La Escuelita Elementary School in Oakland. Photo by Ken Epstein.

Chanting “No school closures, Oakland is not for sale,” teachers, parents, students took over the dais and shut down a Sept. 25 school board meeting at La Escuelita Elementary School in Oakland.

Protesters, who said they were prepared to be arrested, included families and teachers from Kaiser Elementary School, whose campus the board had recently voted to close next year.

Speakers said the board’s goal was to was to sell property and turn public schools into charter schools.

One speaker said the district’s actions show it has no school improvement plan: “They don’t have a school plan — they have a real estate development plan.”

According to Director of Oakland Unified School District 3 Jumoke Hinton, while the Kaiser campus is closing, the school will not be “shut down.”

Instead Kaiser will merge with Sankofa Academy by relocating to its campus on 61st Street in Oakland.

Community activist Assata Olugbala urged the protesters to understand that their battle to save Oakland’s public schools would not be won overnight, reminding them that the Montgomery Bus Boycott was a hard-fought mass movement that took 13 months to win a victory.

“Your children and all children are too important for you not to keep going,” said Olugbala.

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