Chicago Teachers Union Using Students in Strike Protests

Thousands of Chicago public school teachers and their supporters march through the Loop and in front of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) headquarters on September 10, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Credit: Getty Images)

The Chicago Teachers Union is seemingly using students to help stage its strike protests, video taken by EAGnews.org indicates.

On Monday, Chicago’s teachers went on strike for the first time in 25 years, leaving nearly 400,000 students in the country’s third largest school district in academic limbo. Union and district officials were unable to reach a contract agreement over the weekend as the school district failed to satisfy teachers on issues like job security, teacher evaluations and health benefits.

With negotiations stalled, what else is there to do but rally in the streets? Police were anticipating more than 26,000 teachers and support staff to hit the picket lines early Monday. What law enforcement wasn’t counting on were the masses of students joining the teachers in protest.

The video shows crowds of students chanting and singing over the sound of beating drums and battle cries, reminiscent of an Occupy Wall Street rally.

“They are supporting the teachers, supporting the schools to be for poor people,” one charter school counselor said about the students.

One student is seen holding a sign that says “Jobs With Justice,” referring to a socialist lobbying organization. When the man behind the camera asks him if he knows what Jobs With Justice is, he replies, “no.” When asked where he got it, he said “some lady” gave it to him.

“They came down here to show support for all their teachers,” another striking teacher says in the video. According to this teacher, there were students from 7th grade all the way to high school seniors taking part in the union organized protests on Monday.

“Is it appropriate to take kids this young to protests like this?” the man operating the camera for EAGnews.com asks.

“That’s up to the parents, not up to me. But you know what, this protest cements their future so they should have a voice in this, I believe,” he replied.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said he will work to end the strike quickly so that students can get back into the classrooms. In the meantime, it seems they will be in the streets with the teachers union.