Activists plan to collect toilet paper donations outside an event featuring Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. They say district budget cuts have left no funds for janitorial supplies.
Tuesday, Jun 18, 2013 Updated at 10:23 AM CDT
This evening, anti-school cuts activists are going to pull the ultimate prank: they’re going to TP Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.
Byrd-Bennett will be joining the Chicago Tribune’s Bruce Dold to discuss the district’s future at a “Chicago Forward” event in Chase Auditorium, 10 S. Dearborn St. The talk begins at 6 p.m.
Half an hour beforehand, protestors will begin gathering toilet paper donations outside the building. The tissue will be used to stock public school bathrooms left barren by budget cuts that amount to over a million dollars at some high schools. (Taft is facing $3 million in cuts.)
“In many schools, including mine, there are no funds left for janitorial supplies – and this includes toilet paper," CPS teacher Michelle Gunderson told Daily Kos. “This Tuesday, Chicago activists will gather toilet paper donations outside of an event where Barbara Byrd-Bennett, our schools chief, is proclaiming the benefits of her five year plan. What might seem juvenile to some is in fact a perfect metaphor for the disregard of human dignity – the Chicago Public Schools care so little about children that their basic needs are being neglected.”
More than 850 CPS teachers and staffers at closing and turnaround schools were let go Friday afternoon. The Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky details some of the other cuts, including copy machine paper and supplies. "Everything means everything," a principal of a southwest-side high school told Joravsky.
Activists released this video of two students inspecting a bathroom inside Gage Park High School, and finding stalls with…no toilet paper.
Collecting toilet paper is actually not a juvenile idea, because toilet paper is the one school supply that people of all ages use. Collecting pencils or notebooks would be juvenile.
You can follow news of the protest on Twitter at #CPSwipes. (OK, that’s juvenile.)