Matthew Henson Parents, Stakeholders Launch Balloons in Show of Unity and Hope

Chicago–(ENEWSPF)–April 23, 2013.  Parents, teachers, students, community groups and neighborhood members will join forces in opposition against the Chicago Public School proposed closure of Matthew A. Henson Elementary school. The Unity Rally, located at 1326 S Avers and is supported by Chicago Teachers Union, Henson Local School Council members, west side elected officials, clergy, Save Our Schools Neighborhood Coalition, Lawndale Alliance, Action Now, parents, teachers and students.

“We at Henson Elementary recognize that this process of closing our school is illegitimate. Henson parents, workers and teachers have not been consulted about ending this cornerstone of our community,” said Jeanette Darrough, Henson LSC member.

“We know that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his unelected Board of Education members have denied our needs for as long as they have been in power,” said Darrough. “CPS plans to close Matthew Henson Elementary School and send students to the Charles Evans Hughes Elementary School. CPS has no plans for the Henson School building. Although CPS has stated that the receiving school is Hughes, the new attendance boundaries will, in fact, direct more Henson students to Herzl, a turnaround school managed by AUSL,” said Darrough.

Residents also question the independence of the decisions being made, given the fact that CPS Board President Vitale is the former AUSL board chairman, and Tim Cawley, Chief Administrative Officer at CPS, is a former AUSL executive. “The big winner in all of this is AUSL”, said Valerie F. Leonard, Co-Founder of the Lawndale Alliance. “We, the people of Henson and Lawndale are the ones who have everything to lose,” said Leonard.