Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Lori Lightfoot Forces Educators to Teach in a Snowstorm

“My fellow staff members and I spent 40 minutes digging our cars out of the snow.” A Chicago teacher writes about the unsafe conditions that schools are staying open in.

Hala Karim

February 3, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
A snowy street in Chicago, people shovel snow.
Image: Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

On Wednesday February 2, up to 10 inches of snow fell across Chicago. In the midst of this winter snowstorm, Lori Lightfoot demanded that schools remain open. This comes only a few weeks after Lori Lightfoot closed the schools when teachers demanded remote learning. Here we publish an account by Hala Karim, a Chicago teacher, about her day at work.

Today, I woke up annoyed to find that our mayor once again prioritized political interests over the safety of CPS staff and students.

Knowing my car is unreliable in the snow, so I considered getting an Uber. The cost to take me 5 miles to my job was around $60 and the wait was half an hour, so I resigned to driving to school, which was  open. During my commute, I passed billboards citing a statewide weather emergency. My brakes struggled through the icy streets, and I came dangerously close to rear ending a plow truck 

At school, we had 10 students in our entire grade present.

Numbers of staff members justifiably stayed home, so the day was A Babysitting Day.

While leaving, my fellow staff members and I spent forty minutes digging our cars out of the snow that accumulated over the course of the day. My car still wouldn’t budge, so two kind colleagues gave my car a push.  

30 yards later, my car was stuck again on one of the many unplowed Chicago side streets. A man walking by asked if I needed a push, asked if I was a teacher— he was, too!- and helped me out.

Phew!

However, once I was back in my neighborhood, my car got stuck two more times—once for over an hour—and both times, I had to rely on the kindness of neighbors to help me out. Both times, I cursed out the mayor under my breath.

I should not have been put in a position to choose to risk my safety several times or not report to work today. We could have very easily had a virtual learning day. Instead, I received dozens of students emails curious about assignments I posted but confused due to lack of direct instruction. 

I regret risking my safety so many times and I regret that we live in a society in which our elected officials brazenly put us and our kids in harm’s way!

The students and staff in Chicago Public Schools deserve safe and accessible schools, whether that be in person or virtually. The mayor could have started preparing for virtual learning long ago, but the fact is she does not care if our students are learning or not. Being in person in hazardous conditions, whether it be inclement weather or a raging pandemic, is not addressing learning loss. Our abysmal attendance demonstrates that. The many roads on the south side that remained unplowed despite mandating in person learning yesterday demonstrates that, as well. Lori Lightfoot simply wants political control over our schools. As a result, we were put in danger to acquiesce to her demands as most suburban school districts surrounding Chicago transitioned to remote learning or used an emergency day. 

While it certainly restored some faith I have in my community, the city has the responsibility to create safe conditions for schools. We should’t have to rely on our empathetic neighbors to keep us safe.

Facebook Twitter Share

Labor Movement

Two large signs that read "UC Divest from Genocide" and "Gaza Solidarity Encampment" behind the two signs a "UAW on Strike sign" pokes out

Dispatch from Day 2 of the UC Santa Cruz Picket Line

Left Voice member and City University of New York worker Olivia reports on the second day of her trip to Santa Cruz for UAW 4811’s historic strike to talk to workers.

Olivia Wood

May 25, 2024

Why Won’t PSC-CUNY Stand with Palestine Now?

While other higher education unions are going on strike in defense of their workers and against the genocide in Gaza, the bureaucratic leadership of PSC-CUNY just crushed a resolution calling on the university to divest from Israel and to drop the charges against Palestinian activists arrested on April 30. 

James Dennis Hoff

May 24, 2024
A sign for the University of California at Santa Cruz with a line of UAW signs in front of it

Dispatch from Day One of the UC Santa Cruz Picket Line for Palestine

Left Voice member and City University of New York worker Olivia traveled to Santa Cruz for UAW 4811’s historic strike to talk to workers. This is her dispatch from the first day of the strike.

Olivia Wood

May 22, 2024
Signs and banners at the picket line in front of the UC Santa Cruz in May, 2024. UC student workers are beginning a historic strike for Palestine, against genocide.

University of California Student Workers Begin Historic Political Strike against Repression and Genocide

This week, student and postdoctoral workers at the University of California began a historic strike in response to the brutal, violent repression of students, faculty, and staff protesting for Palestine. The action marks an important escalation of the labor movement’s struggle in defense of Palestine and the right to protest.

Olivia Wood

May 21, 2024

MOST RECENT

Attack on Pro-Palestinian Protestors at UMich Latest Example of Democrats Defending Israel’s Genocide in Gaza

Capitalist apologists from the Democratic Party have chosen their business partners in Israel’s far-right government over Palestinian lives. In Ann Arbor, those same so-called “progressive” Democrats decided to bring felony charges against protestors earlier this week, encouraging harsh police violence against the University of Michigan encampment.

Ryan McCarty

May 24, 2024
Activists in Detroit speaking at a press conference condemning repression of the pro-Palestine movement on May 20, 2024.

Detroit Activists Hold Press Conference to Condemn Repression of Pro-Palestine Protesters

Detroit Will Breathe organized a press conference to discuss the police violence and repression against pro-Palestine protesters. The movement must stand in solidarity and unite to combat the increase of repression.

Kyle Thibodeau

May 23, 2024

CUNY Workers Should Support the Five Demands of the Student Encampment

As the PSC CUNY Delegate Assembly prepares to debate a vote to endorse the five demands of the CCNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment, some members of CUNY on Strike penned the following rebuttal to the bureaucratic union leadership that has been trying to distance itself from the struggle against the genocide in Gaza. 

A Russian tank fires toward Kharkiv on the May 10 offensive against Ukraine.

Russia’s Offensive in Ukraine May Be a Turning Point in the War

Russia’s May 10 offensive in Ukraine may be a turning point in the dynamics of the war, and the specter of Ukraine’s defeat is exposing the cracks that divide the Western powers.

Claudia Cinatti

May 21, 2024