What Do You Do When Your Teachers Are Striking?

chicago strike

Photo: Paul Schutz for Business Insider

At least 350,000 students were affected by today’s Chicago Teacher Union strike.Where did they go?

Though it’s been 25 years, this isn’t the city’s first rodeo, and the school district had a contingency plan to deal with the situation.

But many parents and students apparently did their own thing, according to Xian Barrett, the teacher whose op-ed we published earlier today.

He said his students either ended up joining in on the picket line, or simply stayed home and watched the strike unfold online. 

Here’s a pic from Instagram user moccupychi showing what Barrett is talking about:

chicago strike

Photo: moccupychi

Twitter user Izamar Corrina Garza, who identifies herself as a Chicago teenager, spent the afternoon Tweeting about Ryan Reynolds:

chicago strike

Photo: Twitter

and painting her arm to promote suicide awareness.

chicago strike

Photo: Twitter

 The city’s contingency plan called for schools to show movies and open computer labs. The activities would have been run by the principal and  non-union staff. They also served breakfast and lunch.

Here’s one of the programs in action, from teacher and Instragram user libbynm:

chicago strike

Photo: libbynm

She Tweeted, “Things I learned about myself today: I am a great hula hooper. This makes me very cool.”

But schools were only open until 12:30.

Churches, libraries and parks were also providing relief, offering activities like sports, readings, arts and crafts; the libraries are open latest.

The Chicago Police Department put officers at every site.

Meanwhile, negotiations restarted at 10 am. There’s been no word of progress.

Mayor Emanuel spoke this afternoon, and said the two outstanding issues remain the use of teacher evaluations and whether the union and the district or individual principals should be allowed to choose which laid-off teachers get rehired.

He also reiterated his view that the labour action was “a strike of choice.”

Strikers are planning a massive rally at 3:30 pm in front of the mayor’s office.

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