|CPS chief Ron Huberman, left, state Rep. Cynthia Soto, second from left, and representatives of the Whittier mothers group gather at the news conference announcing the agreement to save the field house. (Nancy Stone, Tribune photo / October 19, 2010)|
The occupation of the Whittier Elementary School field house has officially ended in victory with a written agreement by CPS to finally build a new library at the school. Schools chief Ron Huberman also agreed not to demolish the field house that's been home to parents and community activists for the past 36 days.
The sad thing is that it took such a long, difficult struggle and great sacrifice on the part of parents and their families in this largely Latino community, to win something that is taken for granted in wealthier communities. Huberman and Mayor Daley had been under pressure from the Civic Committee not to give in for fear the occupation would spark struggle at other schools. Some 160 CPS elementary schools have no library.
According to the Tribune:
Huberman dismissed claims that the sit-in had spurred the district to agree to the deal. He also said he wasn't worried that the protest would set a precedent for other groups seeking changes at the schools. "We are open to having this dialogue with community groups across the city and do it all the time," Huberman said. Parent Carolina Gaete, one of the protestors, saw it differently. "I don't believe today would have happened without a sit-in," she said.More to come on this.