In Chicago, lifeline schools brace for strike

11:55 PM, Sep 3, 2012   |    comments
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CHICAGO (AP) -- Officials in Chicago are trying to decide what to do with 400,000 students if teachers go on strike next week -- including students who live in areas where there's a lot of gang activity, and where there's been a spike in shootings and homicides.

District officials say they will look after students during the morning in 145 schools -- and they're inviting bids from community organizations to provide "positive activities" the rest of the day.

A standoff in contract talks could bring a strike on Monday of next week.

The head of the teachers' union says the more-than 26,000 teachers and support staff in the nation's third-largest school district are prepared to strike for the first time in 25 years.

It would be the first big-city school strike in the U.S. since Detroit teachers walked off the job for 16 days in 2006.

One mother who's among the immigrant parents in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood says she isn't taking sides -- but that her children need to "stay in school" so they can "be prepared to be someone in life."

She and others say they would have to find a family member or someone else to watch their children while they work -- but that they're also afraid the children would lose ground on attaining the better life the parents sought for them.

Associated Press

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