Chicago students rallied at the education board meeting this week which was discussing the closure of 50 Chicago public schools.The students, who are members of the organisation Chicago Students Organising to Save Our Schools (CSOSOS), had registered to speak at the meeting, but of the 23 who did so, only three were actually allowed to address the board members. The rest were initially put in a separate room on a different floor, but after a storm of protest on twitter, they were allowed into the meeting, albeit in a cordoned off area. According to a press release from CSOSOS:

Students will tell the board, in their own words, how school closings will affect them. Students who have signed up to speak at the meeting will address the impact closings, layoffs, privatization, and charter schools have on current CPS students.

Students are speaking out because our voices are not being heard,” says Jamie Leann Adams, a rising sophomore at Roosevelt High School, who will address the Board of Education on Wednesday. “We're the experts on Chicago Public Schools, and we know best how closings will affect us. The Board of Education says they want to put students first. To do that, they need to listen to us.”

    School closings hurt the students more than anyone,” says Avelardo Rivera, a rising sophomore at Whitney Young High School, who will address the Board of Education on Wednesday. “We're losing our relationships with our teachers, homeless students are losing vital services, and students with special needs are being left behind.”

      The students demands include: a democratically elected Board of Education, that all future TIF funds be directed to public education and monthly meetings between CPS students and the Board of Education. CSOSOS aims to ensure that the voice of students is heard and to engage students in education activism.

      Among those who spoke at the meeting was a deaf student who spoke through signing, translated by another student. She told the board, “Your cuts have made life harder for people like me.”

      Another 16 year old student asked the board: "Where are our teachers going to go? They have taken care of us. We have to fight for them." Yet another put his feelings about the cuts and closures thus: "We talk about the cuts in these areas as if they're painless...We have to find ways to economize. Yeah, don't make me a product.”

      This action is the latest round in a determined campaign by students, teachers and parents against savage cuts to public schools in Chicago, which threaten the safety of children as well as shifting money from public education to privately run charters, and cutting many teachers' jobs.