Occupy the Schools, Occupy the 'Hood

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

I participated in a march from City Hall to LA's school district headquarters yesterday afternoon and at 10 p.m. when the call came from teachers at Occupy LAUSD that they needed backup from Occupy LA, I was able to lead the OLA supporters to the LAUSD encampment through a route that offered amplification by a really long tunnel for our chants and drums. We left OLA thinking the teachers were in danger of being arrested. It takes at least 20 minutes to walk to the headquarters of LAUSD from City Hall. Thankfully, the teachers had already asserted their right to occupy before we arrived and our presence was primarily in solidarity.

I spoke with an organizer of Occupy LAUSD who explained a group of teachers talked about it, got approval from the board of UTLA (United Teachers of Los Angeles) and decided to start occupying prior to gathering additional support in the education community. They're working on getting more teachers, and parents, involved in the occupation. He also let me know this isn't the first time they've camped out at the hq of LAUSD, but it's the first time they've agreed to try to occupy the space.

UTLA is one of the strongest teacher unions in the country, but they're still under massive attack. It's the second largest school district in the nation, with an extremely bloated beauracracy and they balance the budget on the backs of staff in schools - from teachers to librarians to clerical workers to nurses. People with direct contact with the students are being cut, while administrators make off like fat cats on Wall St. Additionally, the horrific standardized testing requirements have turned schools into rote memorization factories. One teacher at the mic last night said they are standing up for the right to teach critical pedagogy in the 'hood.

As a graduate of LAUSD, and as someone hoping the quality, public education I received is available when I have children, I have never been prouder of my participation in the Occupy Together movement than when I led the way from OccupyLA to OccupyLAUSD.

Below is a video from the afternoon rally.

To read updates from OccupyLA, please follow @socialupheaval on Twitter. To read updates on how our anti-war work is converging with Occupy Together, please follow @wardollarshome on Twitter.

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