CHICAGO — Though they may be “merry and bright,” the holidays often cause tension as people handle holiday stress, prolonged exposure to family, and the omnipresent effects of a never-ending pandemic. These tensions can lead to fighting, often in front of children and inflicting lasting emotional effects. Students of Chicago Public Schools were told to stay home and “not listen through the walls,” as fighting continues between CPS and the Chicago Teachers’ Union.
“I woke up this morning and my mom told me school was canceled,” said Megan Tootles, 9, a fifth grader in CPS, “and then she told me that it wasn’t my fault, and that sometimes fights just happen between adults.”
Schools were canceled outright on Wednesday following a vote by CTU to go remote until the COVID surge subsides, a plan that CPS has been against. CPS’s decision to cancel school was followed by a response of “oh wow, here we go, do we really need to do this right now?” from the union. Kids were told to stay home for the day, maybe just go to their room and play for a while, and to cover their ears if the shouting gets too loud.
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“Everytime we disagree with CPS it turns into a big fucking blow up,” said Jesse Sharkey, CTU president, checking to make sure the kids were all out of earshot. “We make a common sense suggestion and they immediately fly off the handle. I swear to God this is the last time I have this conversation about ‘not respecting them as a public institution.’ If this is 2019 all over again, I swear I will go stay with my sister again.”
CTU’s vote followed several chaotic days as students and teachers tried to reckon with a CPS COVID strategy that caused a frantic rush to get tested prior to schools opening. CTU has said the strategy is unsafe for students and teachers alike, but clarified that in no way was CPS’s failure to come up with a good strategy a reflection of their competence, masculinity, or ability in bed, so please don’t go there.
“How are we supposed to take CTU going over our heads with this vote?” said CPS president Pedro Martinez, “They always do this! They undermine our authority and make us look like the bad guys when we make a decision based on saving money instead of making everything about their safety and health or whatever. Basically it’s gaslighting, when you think about it. So they’re in the wrong here.”
As of press time, CPS was going “out to blow off steam” at a local bar, and CTU had called one of the other Chicago unions to talk about what a dick CPS was being.