CHICAGO
03/25/2013 05:50 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2013

CPS School Closing Fight: Protests By Students Heat Up As Concern Over Violence From Closures Grows

Just days after the Chicago Public School district revealed its list of 54 school closings — plus six turnaround schools and 11 consolidations — students have taken to the streets in protest.

Making good on anti-school closing advocates' vow to fight the shutterings, the group "Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools" protested in front of the district's South Clark Street headquarters just before noon Monday, reports Fox Chicago.

An NBC Chicago broadcast from the Monday protest showed plenty of ire was specifically set aside for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, too: Students held signs that read "Rahm, Stop Stealing Our Education" and "Rahm: Bathing In Public's Tears & Money."

(Watch the HuffPost Live segment above for more on how school closures track with areas of high crime.)

One-time U.S. Department of Education Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellow and Chicago high school teacher Xiann Barrett blasted the mayor as well during a HuffPost Live segment Monday.

"We're talking about a mayor who was elected with over ten million dollars from the richest suburbs outside the city of Chicago, coming in and dictating the communities over the voices of tens of thousands of parents and students," Barrett said. "I don't think saying those parents and students don't know their schools are no good is a responsible reaction. It smacks of paternalism."

The students are backing a moratorium on school closings, according to Fox, and were particularly concerned over upticks in violence, neighborhood instability and larger class sizes they feel would result from the closures.

The district had knocked high schools off the list of potential school closures due to concerns over gang violence that could result from merging various student bodies, but anti-school closing advocates insist that isn't enough to stem the trouble.

Brian Sturgess, a senior at Paul Robeson High School in Englewood told CBS even elementary school kids must worry about gang violence as they travel to new schools and says the problems don’t stop at the school doors.

“Schools merging with each other force even more students into compact classrooms under one instructor,” Sturgess said. “Students will now receive even less individual attention, sending them to high school without being able to...solve simple math problems.”

Parents have already protested at the homes of Chicago Board of Education members, while the Chicago Teachers Union has planned a March 27 demonstration starting at 4 p.m. in Daley Plaza.

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett released the list of closures last week, ahead of the March 31 state-mandated deadline. The closings will affect 30,000 CPS students and parents.

View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.

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