The last bell was set to ring at Chicago's Lafayette Elementary School in Humboldt Park Wednesday afternoon, but Lafayette parents had other plans in mind.
Around 2:45 p.m. after school, roughly 50-60 parents, community members and members of the Chicago Teachers Union took to a classroom and surrounding property to "occupy" Lafayette — one of the 28 Chicago Public Schools that closed for good in the first wave of shutterings — in protest.
“Closing Lafayette will kill our neighborhood and our families,” Rousemary Vega, one of the parent occupiers and herself a Lafayette graduate, told CBS Chicago. “We demand that this school stay open. We demand to keep our music programs, and our special ed program. We’re not leaving until this school is saved.”
For years, Lafayette has been home to the only string orchestra at a CPS elementary school which also serves a large number of special needs and low-income students.
Occupy Chicago captured a snapshot of what the protest looked like from inside the occupied classroom:
At one point, as many as nine people were inside occupying the building, hanging banners and waving flags from an open window, DNAinfo Chicago reports.
The protest lasted until about 6 p.m. when NBC Chicago reports those occupying a classroom were escorted out of the building by police. No arrests were made.
At the protest, CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey told the Sun-Times Lafayette was one of the closing schools people were “most bitter about.”
Protests took place at other closing schools Wednesday as well, including Chalmers Elementary in Garfield Park, according to CBS.