“Rainbow/PUSH stands with these parents as they fight for equal protection under the law,” Jackson said Thursday at the Rainbow/PUSH headquarters, 930 E. 50th St.
In 2012, Chicago Public Schools announced that the open-enrollment high school at 555 E. 51st St. would be phased out and closed at the end of the upcoming school year.
The school is expected to enroll fewer than 40 seniors this year, and classes such as art, physical education and math will be taught online rather than in front of a teacher in a classroom.
“As an African-American student, I’m ashamed of my city, politicians and mayor because my education has been sabotaged,” said Parrish Brown, the valedictorian of the 2013-14 senior class. “This is a violation of our civil rights.”
In May, Brown and students at the school filed a complaint with the U.S. Education Department, claiming students were being denied equal access to an education because of the decision to teach classes at Dyett online and close the school.
“These students deserve equal and adequate protection under the law,” Jackson said. “We deserve an equal playing field for our children, too.”
A representative from CPS declined to comment on accusations that students’ civil rights were violated.
“While there are currently no plans in place following next year's scheduled closure, CPS is committed to working with the community to ensure that students in the North Kenwood and Oakland communities continue to have access to quality education options that will prepare them for success in college, career and in life,” said Joel Hood, a spokesman for CPS.
In the neighborhood, activists have pushed Ald. Will Burns (4th) to sign on to a plan to revive the school with a focus on green technology.
Burns has agreed that Dyett should remain open, but stopped short of agreeing to the specific plan, saying in early June that the community needed a chance to weigh in.
Starting June 16, activists spent three days in front of Burns’ office demanding that he schedule a town hall meeting on Dyett in the next 30 days.
As of Thursday, Burns had not scheduled a meeting about Dyett.
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