The memo, released by the Chicago Teachers Union, told principals how to handle the protest. The union reported that it said:
Be approachable and supportive to feelings of unrest, anxiety or dissatisfaction. Observe and report all information regarding possible protestors, locations, dates and times… Is the media present? Which news outlet(s)?
In fact, the union this month, in anticipation of the closings announcement, co-sponsored training in protest techniques, including disruptions, occupations and arrests, according to a union press release. The trainings were led by political activist and scholar Lisa Fithian, who for decades has been a student, labor and community organizer on a range of issues.
Karen Lewis, president of the teachers union, reacted to the memo sent to principals by saying in a statement, “Why are they asking principals to work as agents of this administration when they are the ones who have created a climate of chaos? Civil disobedience is a direct response to unjust policies and practices. We intend to use whatever nonviolence protest actions we have in this fight for education justice.”
A union press release says that the Wednesday protest “could be the spark of [a] 21st century Civil Rights Movement in Chicago. Stay tuned.