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Parents, advocates barred from speaking at consecutive board meetings, must show ID to get into public meeting.

CHICAGO, September 25, 2018—Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates released the following statement today regarding a new Chicago Board of Education policy requiring photo identification to attend its monthly meetings.

“As a majority of Chicagoans and every single mayoral candidate with a semblance of common sense call for an elected, representative school board, Rahm’s handpicked Board of Ed doubles down on its contempt for democracy by mandating that identification be presented to attend its monthly meetings. This requirement recalls Jim Crow-era voter suppression, and is a GOP-Trump Administration tactic that has been used to disenfranchise Black voters and scare off undocumented residents. That goes doubly for the new ‘requirement’ that if you spoke the previous month, you cannot speak this month. We have parents and advocates who come in to raise and report on critical specific issues with the Board each month – and now they are being ordered to sit down and shut up.”

“This is unconscionable in a school district with a majority of Black and Brown students. So is the mayor still practicing the tactics of the GOP and Donald Trump? And if so, why?

“I am a working parent of CPS children, and as a parent, if I take time off work to attend a meeting at 10:30 a.m. on a Wednesday, then it’s clear that the issue is important to me. So not only is the timing already not conducive for most working parents, but now they have to present photo ID to attend a meeting that, for years, has been open to the public with no requirements? And you cannot come in two meetings in a row to raise – and report on – concerns!? This is yet another reason our city needs an elected, representative school board. Because City Hall control of our schools has been a failure, and continues to be with our lame duck mayor.

“We know that Rahm’s handpicked board is planning at least one other round of school closings. Is this a move to keep voices of resistance at bay? Or is the Board using another Trump tactic of making sure chamber seats are filled with nothing but functionaries and private charter operators who applaud every discriminatory move it makes?

“In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, the mayor repeated claims that Chicago was a ‘sanctuary city’ to present himself as some sort of champion against Trump. Requiring identification to attend an open, public meeting, however, puts him closer to Trump than the real champions—parents, educators, activists—he is trying to censor.”

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The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in schools funded by City of Chicago School District 299, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at