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LA parents, students, teachers hold spirited protest against KIPP charter school

By Sol Marquez |
February 28, 2018
LA protest defends public education.
LA protest defends public education. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Los Angeles, CA - More than 30 parents, teachers, students and supporters of Christopher Dena Elementary took to the streets angrily opposing a co-location move by KIPP Charter. A co-location by KIPP at a public school means students would be segregated, within the same building, depending on which ‘school’ they were enrolled in.

Dena (the locals’ name for Christopher Dena Elementary) is located in the historic neighborhood of Boyle Heights and is home to hundreds of students from mostly Chicano, Latino and immigrant working-class families. KIPP Charter is notorious for being supported by multi-billion industries like Netflix and the multi-billionaire Eli Broad, whom has publicly vowed a war against public education.

Joined by various teachers from Dena and neighboring East LA schools, Centro CSO, as well as parents from Marianna Avenue Elementary, the powerful crowd stood their ground for over an hour. Three young Dena students equipped with bullhorns led chants including, “No co-location! We love Dena!” and “Si se puede!”

Martha Gandara, of United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) and chapter chair of Dena said, “This attack hits close to home. I went to school at Dena, one of my youngest is there now. I stand with Dena today in demanding KIPP stop their co-location threats.”

At the end of the protest Eloisa Galindo, a mother whose child goes to Marianna Avenue Elementary, told the crowd that battles against privatization for public education are far from over. Galindo said, “Feb. 28 we will be outside of the Boyle Heights City Hall at 6 p.m. obtaining signatures against rezoning efforts by KIPP. Then March 7 we will be collecting all petition signatures and presenting them at a City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning Public Hearing. KIPP plans to obtain approval from City of LA Planning Commission to rezone the former Lincoln Hospital and construct a new KIPP Charter school. Many oppose another charter school in Boyle Heights. Join us!”

KIPP’s efforts failed when these same parents, students and teachers fought back at the Jan. 24 Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council meeting when the board voted against allowing KIPP to rezone the former hospital property.

To stay connected with the fight, follow Centro CSO on Facebook, email them at [email protected], or call for more information at 323-943-2030.

Márquez is a Chicana member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) and Centro CSO.