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Students, parents occupy Oakland school

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POSTED June 19, 2012 7:18 p.m.

OAKLAND  (AP) — Demonstrators who have been occupying the campus of an Oakland elementary school in a protest against school closures have been warned that they are trespassing and risk arrest.

Oakland school district police officers posted notices Monday — the fourth day of the protest — ordering the roughly dozen students, parents and activists on the grounds of Lakeview Elementary School to vacate the premises.

But the demonstrators remained there Tuesday and showed no indications of leaving.

"We want families and all taxpayers to stand up and tell our country that these buildings are going to be used to teach children," Joel Velasquez, a parent, told the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/MqocmR ) on Monday. "These buildings belong to us."

School officials said they did not have any immediate plans to remove the protesters.

"We're hoping the crowd will disperse on its own accord," district spokesman Troy Flint told the Oakland Tribune (http://bit.ly/KRoMtn).

The occupation, which began Friday, follows the school board's October decision to close five elementary schools, including Lakeview, because of budget problems and declining enrollment. Parents at one of the schools have subsequently managed to keep it open by turning it into an independently run charter school.

The closures would save about $2 million a year, according to school officials.

But demonstrators say the closures are not worth the disruption they cause families, and they're demanding the district reverse its policy. They also have called for district Superintendent Tony Smith's resignation.

Protesters have set up their own summer courses in art, gardening and social justice at the closed school.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated

 

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