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“Do you have any idea what your doing to us … our school … even to me?”

June 20, 2013

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Before walking into Yale Elementary School, an emotional Jaleel Carr, 13 wipes his face, before enter the building on the last day of school – ever – at Yale. Carr will attend Westcott next year. “I’ll miss the school, period,” Carr said. Jessica Koscielniak ~ Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times:

Vasquez had no idea how Paula was feeling until she stumbled upon her daughter’s letter a few weeks ago while cleaning the 6th-grader’s book bag.

“I have one question to ask,” it begins, in Paula’s girlish printing.

“Do you have any idea what your doing to us … our school … even to me? We all have tried and tried everything to keep our school open. How can people like you have no mercy on us?”

Paula wrote that she is heartbroken. She called CPS decision-makers “cold hearted,” and their decision “barbaric.” And she closed the letter by writing, “I just don’t get it, I don’t get it at all.”

Outside King Wednesday afternoon, Paula said she wrote that letter in anger — and “for myself.” She said it made her feel better, made her happy to share her feelings.

Fighting tears, she, like many other children Wednesday, called her school a second home.

That pained the adults around Paula — and parents, teachers and children across the city.

West Pullman special education teacher Sheryl Campbell is now without a job but her worries are for her kids’ safety in getting to their new school: “Hopefully their needs will be met.”

And at Calhoun on the West Side, crossing guard Mona Conway watched as students headed to class for the last time Wednesday.

“When you hurt, they hurt,” said Conway, herself a Calhoun grad. “When the school hurts, I hurt.”

These other schools shut their doors for the last time Wednesday afternoon: Altgeld, Louis Armstrong, Banneker, Bethune, Bontemps, Delano, Emmet, Goldblatt, Henson, Herbert, Key, Kohn, Lafayette, May, Morgan, Overton, Paderewski, Parkman, Pope, Ryerson, Songhai, Williams Elementary and Middle, Woods and Yale.

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