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Advocacy groups opposing the planned shutdown of 49 schools in Chicago are turning to the United Nations for help, urging U.N. officials to investigate and take steps to prevent human rights abuses which, they say, will result from the closures.
In the latest in a number of appeals by U.S. civic organizations to the world body, the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights this week submitted a letter to the U.N. human rights apparatus in Geneva, asking that it “investigate and take preventative measures to address the potential domestic and international human rights violations that may result from these school closings.”
The action comes alongside two federal lawsuits seeking injunctions to block the closure of the institutions by the nation’s third-largest public school district before the new school year begins.
In brief, the advocacy groups argued that:
--Eighty percent of the almost 30,000 children affected by the closures are African-American, and that disabled children “will be forced to move to new schools without any guarantee that their special needs will be met.”
--The closures “place children at greater risk of violence and death,” since “[m]any Chicago neighborhoods are gang-controlled” and students will have to cross gang lines to reach their new schools.
--The movement of students from the closing schools will increase class sizes in the receiving schools, thus eroding the quality of education.
The Midwest Coalition comprises 56 organizations, legal service providers and university centers. Its submission to the U.N. was also supported by various other groups, including the Chicago Teachers Union’s human rights committee; and by individual teachers, parents and others, among whom the controversial retired University of Illinois education professor Bill Ayers stands out. - See more at: cnsnews.com...