DOWNTOWN — Hundreds of Chicago Public Schools students protested against inadequate state education funding Friday and forced state troopers to close the doors at the Thompson Center.
Chanting, "Shut it down" and "Block the doors," students marched around the Thompson Center and City Hall issuing demands for equitable statewide spending on schools.
"This is where the bullying starts and ends. Where students come together is where the politicians come to a halt," said Nidalis Burgos, a senior at Lincoln Park High School and one of the leaders of the protest. "This is our education they're toying with, and we refuse to allow it."
A day after charter students staged a similar rally at the Thompson Center, CPS students from so-called neighborhood schools and selective-enrollment high schools criticized both Gov. Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
They repeated calls made previously by CPS officials for the state to give 20 percent of its education funding to the city, as it has 20 percent of the state's pupils. CPS claims to receive only 15 percent of the state's education funding.
"We live in a state where our governor calls our schools 'crumbling prisons,' but refuses to actively improve public education," said Payton College Prep student Sarah Jester. "We live in a city where our corrupt mayor appoints only his good friends to our Board of Education, although boards are usually elected in many other districts."
Students came from Lincoln Park, Payton, Senn, King, Lane Tech and other schools. As each group arrived straight from class they cheered each other and their ranks swelled until hundreds of protesters were marching around the Thompson Center and City Hall.
State troopers previously closed the Thompson Center doors for the charter-school protest and a Chicago Teachers Union "Day of Action" April 1, but this time students laid claim to forcing the doors to be closed. Doors to City Hall remained open, but police monitored protesters and made sure not to allow them entry to the building.
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