March 13, 2013
Philadelphia Pa. – AFT president Randi Weingarten and 18 others were arrested March 7 at the headquarters of the School District of Philadelphia for protesting city officials' plans to close 29 public schools. The protesters were blocking the doors to prevent Philadelphia's School Reform Commission from voting on the school-closing plan. Watch video highlights of the protests.
Before the arrests, Weingarten—along with Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan, a number of Philadelphia City Council members, and other community and religious leaders—addressed a crowd of several hundred protestors who had gathered at the district headquarters before the commission meeting. They demanded a moratorium on harmful school closures, which are a reckless approach to education that destabilizes communities. Parents, teachers and community members have drafted and united around an alternate plan to invest in neighborhood schools, but the plan has been ignored by the School Reform Commission.
"Kids have suffered cut after cut," Weingarten said. "Fix, don't close, schools!" The crowd joined along with its own chant of "Don't close schools!"
"Enough is enough," agreed Jordan, who is also an AFT vice president.