LSC Rally still on – school closings lawsuit to be refiled

News came out Friday afternoon that the Local School Council member lawsuit against Chicago Public Schools’ school closings actions was dismissed by Cook County Judge Michael Hyman, According to this story in the Tribune, the judge sounded generally pretty sympathetic to the case, which was headed by KOCO’s Jitu Brown:

In the opening lines of his order, Hyman noted the irony that the title of the case, Brown v. Board of Education, mirrored the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case before the U.S. Supreme Court that led to the desegregation of public school systems nationwide.

But while the case filed by local school councils was based on sweeping allegations of racial bias, Hyman noted his ruling was on more mundane legal questions of whether the councils have a right to sue to block the closings.

The school councils had no standing to file the suit, because they were not the subject of discrimination themselves and they did not provide evidence in their suit that the school closings disproportionately harmed minorities, he ruled.

“The problems (Chicago) schools in this case face arise from a multitude of causes and social conditions. The problems are complicated because the conditions that bred them are complicated,” Hyman wrote. “Yet, before the court today is a narrow question involving the legal sufficiency of the amended complaint. As such, the answer is dry, cold, removed from the greater flow of life.”

The plaintiffs plan to refile. Here’s an update from the CTU:


Opponents of the City’s plans for drastic changes at 17 schools will announce today they have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene, based on civil rights violations. The news conference will take place at 4:00 pm today at Chicago Public Schools headquarters, 124 S. Clark St.

Save Our Schools advocates also plan a rally under the slogan “We say NO to the status quo.” Jitu Brown of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization expects to see parents, teachers, students and organizations from across the city.

“Closings, turnarounds, phase-outs – however you label them – lead to increased violence and destabilization affecting both our children and their overall communities,” says Brown. “We are firm in our commitment to use whatever peaceful means at our disposal to stop these destructive educational policies. We will make our voices heard by those in power – if not here, then wherever else we have to go.”

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Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.