Local

Mahalia Jackson Elementary parents glad school will stay open

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mahalia Jackson Elementary School parents, students and teacher received good news Wednesday morning when they heard their school would not be closing next month.

It is one of four Chicago Public Schools that was removed from the school-closure list.

They had to endure meetings upon meetings, and harsh comments from teachers: parents and even students fought for their schools to stay open.

That fight worked for parents at Mahalia Jackson on the South Side. They held many protests, rallies, and marches, all fighting for their school.

"We are so happy," said parent Joyce Stewart. "I'm an alumni of Mahalia Jackson. I came back, I worked for Mahalia Jackson. My kids go to Mahalia Jackson. I'm president of the local school council. We are so happy. We did a lot of work to get this."

"We need our schools in our neighborhood," said James Davis, the parent of a Mahalia Jackson student. "That's our growth and development."

Michael Allen is a teacher's assistant. He says this school and its teachers focus on unique learning programs for children that are hearing impaired, and parents appreciate that dedication.

"This school is a brilliant school filled with lots of brilliant students and brilliant teachers that have a lot to give," Allen said.

Not all schools were that lucky. Dozens hit the chopping block, including Anthony Overton Elementary School. Parents there are deeply disappointed.

"I feel kinda bad because there's a lot of kids in this area," said parent Patricia Shaw. "They will have to walk four or five blocks down the street instead of or walking down the street."

Although Mahalia Jackson parents say they are thrilled the school is not closing, they say their hearts and thoughts are still with the parents who may have to go through a school closure.

Parents at George Manierre Elementary also got a ray of sunshine.

"It's just a good school, a wonderful school," said Manierre parent Lashawnda Dye. "And I'm very, very excited and just happy that it's not closing."

Manierre on the North Side was removed from the list of proposed closings at the eleventh hour, along with Leif Ericson School on the West Side, and two South Side schools, Marcus Garvey and Mahalia Jackson.

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