Friday, June 22, 2012
The entrance to Lakeview on Grand Avenue was guarded by Occupy Oakland protesters on Thursday, who tried to limit who came and went from the school to only parents and students. Inside the campus, elementary-school aged children worked in the garden and then inside the classroom of longtime Lakeview teacher Pamela Chinn-Scoffern on art projects, including designing a logo for the People’s School.
Nirali Jani, who lives near Lakeview, sat behind her 3-year-old son at the art table on Thursday afternoon. Jani said she was hoping to send her son to Lakeview when he got old enough because this is our neighborhood school. When Jani heard about the protest this week, she decided to pull her son out of preschool in the afternoon and bring him to the People’s School. Thursday was his first day.
The activities here are really beautiful, and hands-on, and I felt like since it’s summertime I wanted to get our hands dirty, Jani said as she watched her son draw at the table. I think it’s important to be around parents and teachers who are building together.
As she was leaving campus when classes ended at 3 pm, Jani spoke with Velasquez about returning to the school next week to help teach a social justice course. Still, she knows police could move in at any time and evict the protesters. I see it as an inevitability, Jani said.
On June 14th, parents, teachers, students and other members of the community announced their intention to enter Lakeview Elementary and conduct a sit-in after it had been ordered closed by the Oakland Unified School District:
After taking over the school property, they reopened the school on Monday and began to conduct classes and organize activities for children, and continue to do so. As one person in the video says . . . we start to build the world we want to see in the shell of the old.
At the end of this school year, the Oakland Unified School District plans to close 5 public elementary schools and hand children’s school buildings over to private charter schools and district administration offices. Hundreds of the displaced students have been placed by the district in elementary schools that are 10 miles away, and the school district has offered no guarantee that transportation will be provided for families. In response . . .
Oakland Parents and Teachers Are Sitting-in to Keep Neighborhood Schools Open!
We Need Your Support!!On June 15th, after the last day of school, Oakland parents and teachers will sit-in at Lakeview Elementary demanding that the district keep all neighborhood schools open. The district has not listened to lawsuits, pleas from parents and teachers, or protests. We know the money exists, but still they insist on closing flatland schools serving predominantly black and brown children. We say no more excuses! We’re keeping the schools open the last way left to us, by sitting-in. But we cannot do this alone. We need your support! Demand the district and the politicians give us full funding for quality education in neighborhood public schools. Join the fight for our kids’ futures.
Tomorrow, if you live in the Bay Area, there will be a rally and march in defense of this action. You can also show your support by signing a petition and donating funds. By visiting saveoaklandschools.org and the Twitter hashtag @LakeviewSitIn, you can stay informed in regard to breaking news, as the police have already posted a stay away order. Not surprisingly, it appears that the school district is losing money by shutting down Lakeview and 4 other elementary schools in lower income areas, but, then, I guess money is no object when it comes to subsidizing the expansion of charter schools. Yesterday, California legislature leaders reached an agreement with the governor for a revised budget that decreases funding for the public schools by 3 billion dollars while increasing the block grant for charter schools.