08/13/2013 02:21 pm ET

CPS Class Action Lawsuit Status Denied By Judge In 2 Pending Cases On School Closures


A judge has denied class action status on two lawsuits filed by Chicago Public School parents hoping to block the district's massive shutdown of nearly 50 schools.

The two lawsuits, which were backed by the Chicago Teachers Union, claimed the district's black students and students with disabilities were disproportionately harmed by the closings. However, in a 26-page opinion, the Tribune reports U.S. District Judge John Lee said the plaintiffs were unable to establish that either group of students would "suffer a common class-wide injury as a result of the changes."

Plaintiffs argued the shutdowns would harm students in a variety of ways, including forcing children to walk through dangerous territory on their way to their new school or sending kids to schools either ill-equipped or unprepared to accommodate students' special needs the way their prior schools had.

Monday, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett issued a brief written statement saying she was "pleased with the court's ruling," according to the Associated Press.

The ruling is yet another setback for parents, teachers and community groups hoping to stall or stop outright the largest single-wave closure of schools in U.S. history. In late July, a Cook County Circuit Court lawsuit attempting to stop the closure of 10 schools was rejected.

Judge Lee is also expected to issue a ruling any day now on the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction to stop the closings. The new CPS school year starts Aug. 26.



Chicago School Closings