Mayor: Court should force teachers back to classroomsPublished 9:14pm Monday, September 17, 2012
CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked a state court Monday to force Chicago school teachers back to work and end a weeklong strike he calls illegal.
Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said city attorneys asked the Cook County Circuit Court to force Chicago Teachers Union members off the picket line and back into classrooms.
The request, filed in Circuit Court of Cook County, argues the strike is illegal because state law bars the union from striking on anything but economic issues and that the work stoppage is focused instead on such issues as evaluations, layoffs and recall rights.
The filing also contends the strike presents a danger to public health and safety, partly because more than 80 percent of 350,000 public students rely on school meals for their basic nutrition; it says 50,000 others, including autistic students, depend on special instruction. And out of school, children are more prone to fall victim to violence, it says.
“At a critical time in their lives, a vulnerable population has been cast adrift by the CTU’s decision to close down the schools, with consequent grave implications for the residents of the city of Chicago,” the court document says.