Socialist Worker

Glasgow schools sit-in has egg-head councillors hiding

by Angela McCormick
Issue No. 2147

Occupations by parents at two Glasgow schools threatened with closure have entered their second week—and put local councillors on the defensive.

Around 20 people have barricaded themselves into school buildings.

As support for them grows, council leaders who have refused to meet campaigners or to explain their decision to close Wynford and St Gregory’s primary schools are nowhere to be seen.

In response, parents last week organised an Easter egg hunt for pupils, with each egg having a councillor’s name and face on it—and a special prize for the child finding the egg with council leader Steven Purcell’s face.

Campaigners were buoyed last week by a 400-strong demonstration in support of the schools.

Parents from three other threatened schools joined the march, reflecting the way the campaign has united people.

Occupying parent Ruby Grant told Socialist Worker, “We’ve had people we’d never have dreamt of offering to join us. Everything has been fabulous.”

The battle to save the schools this week travelled as far as Cardiff, as parents Donna McKenzie and Sharon Brown addressed a fringe meeting at the NUT teachers’ union conference.

“We’re just a bunch of mothers trying to save our kids’ schools,” said Donna. “I was absolutely terrified when we first went in to occupy the school. My legs were shaking and my mouth was dry – I didn’t know how the police would react.”

The two parents explained the way the two schools bring together different communities – one school is Catholic and the other non-denominational.

“There is some sectarianism in Glasgow but we don’t have anything like that in these schools,” said Donna. “Communities can be united and that’s what we stand for.”

A joint Easter procession by the local Catholic and Protestant churches came to the school gates on Friday of last week in a display of unity and solidarity with the school campaigners.

There is a fear that if the schools close, things could change.

“The kids in the Catholic school will be sent to one area and those in the other somewhere else,” said Sharon.

The closure of the schools would have an impact on the community in other ways.

“The schools offer lots of facilities, like after school clubs and sports groups,” said Sharon. “If the schools close they’ll have nothing.”

But both were upbeat about the occupation. “I hope more people will do this,” Sharon added. “People might say they can’t do it, but that’s what we thought at first.”

Text messages of support to Wyndford 07894 123721 and to St Gregory’s on 07776 396152


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News
Tue 14 Apr 2009, 18:56 BST
Issue No. 2147
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