OOEC post-raid statement of the Lakeveiw Sit-In

from Cruz Thinks on WEDNESDAY, JULY 4, 2012

At 4 am this morning Oakland Unified School District police supported by the Oakland Police Department (around 40 cops and 20 squad cars) raided the Lakeview Sit-in and People’s School for Public Education. The school district planned to start moving administrative offices into the school building, having displaced over 200 Lakeview students and over a thousand studentsacross the district from the five school closure. Everyone present were forced toevacuate the site. Two arrests were made, a Lakeview parent and aformer Lakeview student. The final dispersal order was given by Sergeant Barhin Bhatt. This is the same Sgt. Bhatt who murdered anunarmed young black man, Rahiem Brown, two years ago, outside of a dance at Skyline High.

OUSD spokesperson Troy Flint was on the scene defending the police raid to the media, saying, “There’s nothing to negotiate. They want a highly successful superintendent to resign, and they want to keep open five schools that must be closed. “But OUSD Superintendent Tony Smith’s success has been solely inc losing schools and cutting essential programs. He has destabilized the high schools. And now he’s destabilizing elementary schools, which will assure more dropouts at an even younger age. Smith has succeeded in a number of things, including: driving the dropout rate to over 48%, driving up class sizes, degrading the teachers union contract, driving away teachers, shutting the adult education program, cutting the early childhood education program, eliminating over $2.1 million in transportation funds for Special Education, and increasing the proliferation of charter schools in the district.

In contrast, the “People’s School”symbolizes the opposite side of the spectrum to what Tony Smith and the School Board have been doing. The school, in its third week of instruction, has provided a free program to students, focused on their empowerment and creative growth. The students in attendance at the people’s school include students from the 5 closed schools,those hardest hit by Smith’s discriminatory practices. Tony Smith has targeted these schools, all within low-income communities of color, as well as cut essential programs that service these communities. Those participating in the People’s School condemn the actions of Tony Smith.

The fight for quality Public Education will continue. The People’s School will continue to operate, its classes now held directly across the street from Lakeview Elementary. Parents, teachers and community members that have participated in theLakeview action will continue to fight to stop administrative offices from being moved into Lakeview Elementary.

The Alameda Labor Council has been called upon to sanction a community labor picket line at Lakeview Elementary. We call on Oakland residents, educators, parents, youth and broader community to come support the fight for public education. We demand the reopening of the 5 closed elementary schools.

Today (Tuesday, July 3) at 5PM we will assemble in front of Lakeview Elementary for a mass rally and march to continue the fight to keep those five elementary schools open and to fully fund quality public education.

This Sunday (July 8) at 6PM, we will host a mass convergence and open mic featuring speakers and musical performances by Boots Riley and others at Splash Pad Park (directly across from the school).

We will continue to organize within our communities in Oakland to keep neighborhood schools open, and further to have fully funded quality public education. In the fall, we will support candidates that oppose the trajectory of current members—as parents, teachers, educators and community members we refuse to support austerity programs and cuts to social programming. We demand a school board that will fight to fully fund public education, oppose the State Debt, and re-open neighborhood schools. This fight is far from over, we will continue to support our most vulnerable communities, young black and brown students, and their parents.

Information updated frequently at ourblog: saveoaklandschools.org

posted by vicente cruz