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Chicago Public Schools backs off threat of locking teachers out, big win for teachers union

The union is making it clear that the students are just pawns in their game of negotiations. 

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In the ongoing battle between the teachers union and Chicago public schools, the ones left hurting are the students. 

A little over a week ago, Chicago Public Schools threatened to lock its K-8 teachers out of their remote learning tools if they failed to show up to prepare for the return of in-person learning. 

But, the school system doubled back on the threat in a joint statement issued Monday night by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson.

Why? To steer clear from a potential strike by the Chicago Teachers Union. 

Both sides are in a feud over how to safely reopen schools. The district previously had planned on resuming in-person classes on Monday; however, the teachers union simply wasn’t interested.

The union previously threatened that its members would strike if they were denied access to programs they have been using to instruct students remotely, Fox News reports. 

“We have reached another important milestone today in our efforts to provide in-person learning for our students in the Chicago Public School system. We have secured an agreement on one other open issue and made substantial progress on a framework that we hope will address the remaining issues,” the statement said. “We are calling for a 48-hour cooling off period that will hopefully lead to a final resolution on all open issues.” 

“As a result of the progress we have made, and as a gesture of good faith, for now, teachers will retain access to their Google Suite,” it added. “Students will remain virtual Tuesday and Wednesday and we will update the CPS school community if there are further developments.” 

In response to the statement, Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said “we are winning.” 

“We are not currently locked out because of your unity, your commitment to your school communities, and your fearless solidarity,” he said. “We are literally working to steer CPS to a more responsible path ro reopen schools safely, and we are winning,” he added. “We want to keep working remotely as we bargain an agreement to return to our classrooms safely.” 

The union is making it clear that the students are just pawns in their game of negotiations. 

Indeed, the coronavirus lockdowns are hitting K-12 students particularly hard. Not only are they being robbed of an in-person education, they are missing out on critical emotional development and social interaction. A CDC study found that across the country between April and October of 2020, the percentage of emergency room mental health visits increased by 24 percent for those between the ages of five and 11, and 31 percent for those between the ages of 12 and 17, Business Insider reports. 

Leo Terrell blasted the union in a series of Tweets: 

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Gunman In Highland Park Shooting Was ‘Dressed In Women’s Clothing’

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The suspected gunman who opened fire at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, on Monday was wearing women’s clothing as a disguise, police announced Tuesday.

The attack killed six people and injured dozens more, according to Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek. The suspect, 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III, was apprehended by police later that day near Lake Forest, Illinois.

“During the attack, Crimo was dressed in women’s clothing,” said Sgt. Christopher Covelli, of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, FOX 10 reported. “Investigators do believe he did this to conceal his facial tattoos and his identity and help him during the escape with the other people who were fleeing the chaos.”

“He brought a high-powered rifle to this parade,” Covelli said. “He accessed the roof of a business via a fire escape ladder and began opening fire on the innocent Independence Day celebration-goers.”

“After the shooting, Crimo blended in with the crowd and walked to his mother’s home in the area where he borrowed her vehicle, Covelli said. A member of the community spotted Crimo driving and called 911,” FOX 10 reported. “Crimo was pulled over and arrested during a traffic stop about five miles north of the shooting.”

Investigators have interrogated Crimo and reviewed his social media but have not been able to determine a motive for the attack, Covelli said.

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Democrats Introduce ‘Transgender Bill Of Rights’

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On Tuesday, House Democrats introduced a “Transgender Bill of Rights” to “protect and codify the rights of transgender and nonbinary people under the law and ensure their access to medical care, shelter, safety, and economic security.”

Led by Democrat Reps. Pramila Jayapal (WA), David Cicilline (RI), Marie Newman (IL), Mark Takano (CA), and Ritchie Torres (NY), HR 1209 proposes “amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, including gender identity and sex characteristics in public accommodations and federally funded programs and activities.”

“As we witness Republicans and an extremist Supreme Court attack and roll back the fundamental rights of trans people across our country, and as state legislatures across the country target our trans community with hateful, bigoted, and transphobic attacks, we are standing up and saying enough is enough,” said Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and co-chair of the Transgender Equality Task Force.

“Our Trans Bill of Rights says clearly to the trans community across the country that we see you and we will stand with you to ensure you are protected and given the dignity and respect that every person should have,” Jayapal added.

The bill seeks to increase the ability of children to get permanent and life changing surgeries by “eliminating unnecessary governmental restrictions on the provision of, and access to, gender-affirming medical care and counseling for transgender and nonbinary adults, adolescents, and children.”

The bill will additionally ensure that biological male students are allowed to compete in girls’ sports by amending federal “education laws to ensure that they protect students from discrimination based on sex, including gender identity and sex characteristics, and guarantee students’ right to participate in sports on teams that best align with their gender identity.”

Federal education laws will also be amended to allow students to :use school facilities that best align with their gender identity,” meaning that biological males would be allowed to use girls’ restrooms and locker rooms.

The bill expands beyond “transgender rights” to also ban states from making laws restricting abortion by “codifying the right to abortion.”

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