Just got a press release—which I guess makes it official—on this week’s school ‘stay out.’ The concerned parents, who are protesting the proposed 23 school closings, are comparing themselves with the civil rights movement. We aren’t quite sure the comparison is apt. Whatever.

You can read the press release in full and decide for yourself:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CITYWIDE “STAY OUT” SET FOR THURSDAY

Washington, D.C.— As we approach Black History Month, The Coalition to Save Our Neighborhood Schools recalls the breadth of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Against a backdrop of extreme societal injustice, inequality and racial disparity, mass demonstrations, sit-ins and protests erupted.

Taking a page from the Civil Right Movement, The Coalition is staging a modern day protest against the closing of schools with a STAY-OUT MARCH AND PROTEST on THURSDAY, JANUARY 31, commencing at 8:30 AM at DC Public Schools Central Office, 825 North Capitol Street, NE and concluding with a rally at the State Board of Education offices, 441 Fourth St. NW.

January 31—the eve of Black History month— is a perfect time to make Dr. King’s dream and legacy real and get young people involved as well in their destiny.

In the past, disenfranchised black citizens and their non-black supporters peacefully protested and demonstrated against a society, government and legislative proceeding rooted in inequality and unfairness.” On February 1, 1960, four students from the Negro Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, NC, entered a variety store, made several purchases, and then sat down at the lunch counter and ordered coffee. They were refused service because they were black, but they continued to sit at the counter until the store closed. This was the beginning of the sit-in movement which spread rapidly through the South and to numerous places in the North.”

The Citywide “Stay Out” offers DC students, parents, teachers and employees an opportunity to shift power from a questionable paradigm. The idea that the Mayor and his administration have ultimate power to abruptly close “23” DC public schools without real involvement from the DC Council, parents, teachers and the community, is disrespectful and disingenuous.

The students’ participation in this event will take learning out of the classroom and make it “practical and real”. It affords them the rare opportunity to be part of the continuum of the civil rights history and take a stand on what is a priority in their lives, education.

For more details, attend press conference about this event – Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 8:00am. Guildfield Baptist Church, 1023 Otis St. NE, Washington, DC 20017. ###