Parents of Chicago Public Schools children filed two class-action lawsuits Wednesday to stop the city’s school district from closing 53 elementary schools.

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago Teachers Union said violations against the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Illinois Civil Rights Act (ICRA) are the focus of the civil rights suits with complaints of race and disabilities at the core, the CTU said.

The move comes a week before the school board votes on the closings.

“There is no way that in a few short months the Board can responsibly do the counseling and provide the support services these children with disabilities need,” CTU Financial Secretary and former special education teacher Kristine Mayle said in a statement. “These proposed closings will inevitably put our students at greater risk for academic failure.”

Another suit claims racial discrimination by the board, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and the city “as parents seek to block the Board from continuing to select African-American children in school closings.”

“The Board says they use neutral criteria, but somehow they keep finding criteria that will single out only African-American children,” parent Frances Newman said.



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