Education advocates in Chicago claim that recently announced budget cuts will force some schools to choose between two necessary resources: teachers or toilet paper.
The cuts, which were unveiled weeks after the Chicago school board’s decision to close 49 of the city’s public schools, are designed to eliminate up to millions of dollars from the budgets of some schools. Protestors claim the cuts run so deep that school principals will have to choose between laying off teachers or purging schools of basic, everyday supplies once the new budget goes into effect, reports My Fox Chicago.
Protestors see the fact that some schools will be forced to reduce toilet paper supplies as representative of how detrimental the budget cuts will be. On Tuesday night, outside an event where Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett was speaking, activists held a toilet paper drive to raise awareness of the issue.
“In many schools, including mine, there are no funds left for janitorial supplies –- and this includes toilet paper," Chicago teacher Michelle Gunderson told the Daily Kos before the toilet paper drive. “What might seem juvenile to some is in fact a perfect metaphor for the disregard of human dignity -- the Chicago Public Schools care so little about children that their basic needs are being neglected.”
Teachers and parents also picketed outside of the Tuesday event, reports My Fox Chicago.
"So we got socked," said Chicago Public School parent Jennie Biggs, according to the outlet. "Losing money and now we also, my principal also has to pick up supplies, so there's a real chance he's going to have to pick between teachers and toilet paper."
The Daily Kos reports that the activists promoted a twitter hashtag, #CPSWipes, which was attached to tweets railing against the cuts and lashing out against Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D).
Inside Tuesday's event, Byrd-Bennett sounded optimistic about the future of the city's schools.
"The stars are aligned for Chicago to make a dramatic difference in the way we educate our children," said Byrd-Bennett, according to the Chicago Tribune.