July 29, 2013 8:39 pm

Chicago School Closings Case Heard in Court

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chicagoTwo lawsuits filed to protest Chicago students against school closings are in court this week. A decision expected by Friday. 

Tuesday marked the first day of court hearings in the fight to save Chicago schools. It was announced in March that the CPS would close 54 public schools, making this the largest closure of public schools at one time in American history. Since then, the number has decreased to 49, but parents and teachers continue protesting in the hopes of saving more of the schools. This week, the protests escalated to a legal battle in federal court.

Multiple lawsuits aimed at stopping the school closings have been waged. One lawsuit is based on the claim of racial discrimination, as it is estimated that African-American students will be disproportionately affected by the school closings.

Another lawsuit filed by the Chicago Teachers Union claims that the closures violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, with the argument that students with special needs who are being forced to move schools will face disproportionate hardship in the adjustment. Additionally, teachers worry that schools are not yet equipped to handle the influx of special needs students after less than one year of time to prepare. There are estimated to be 5,000 students with special needs who will be affected by the school closures.

The hearing is expected to end Friday, at which point Judge John Lee will decide whether or not to order a preliminary injunction that would halt the closure of the 49 schools in question.