Board's attack on La Casita has left Whittier with a dangerous playlot... The fencing that was erected to block protests and the media remains and becomes more dangerous by the day

According to the official CPS version of what happened at Whittier school a few weeks ago, the demolition team that leveled the library and community center known at "La Casita" did it because the place was unsafe. As this reporter and others noted at the time, the spectacle at Whittier that weekend consisted of CPS erecting an eight foot high fence alongside the existing fencing and then sealing off visuals of the area around La Casita with green mesh.

Three weeks after Chicago Public Schools officials ordered the destruction of the Whittier Field House (known as "La Casita") on Chicago's west side, the fencing that was quickly erected to keep out protesters and the media during the demolition of the iconic building is endangering children who play on the playlot to the west of the main building. Above, a Labor Day weekend photo of the playlot apparatus (left) and the collapsing fencing (right) at the spot where La Casita once stood contradicts that claim by CPS spokesman Becky Carroll that the demolition had to be done for the sake of the "safety" of the children. Substance photo by John Kugler.It was clear that the added fencing and the mesh had nothing to do with children's safety and everything to do with the media and public's access to the site. The eight-foot fence made it difficult for people to get to La Casita and resume the 2010 sit-in that prevented the earlier destruction of the place, and the green mesh was there to make it difficult for the TV cameras and other reporters to get photographs of the Board's workings.

Those who were at the site the night of the destruction noted that CPS officials ordered the erection of the fencing prior to the arrival of the demolition crews, and that the paperwork which supposedly made the work official was confused, or non-existent. By the time the challenges were made, however, CPS, with the help of Alderman Danny Solis, had destroyed the building. Members of the community are still wondering what happened to the books donated from all over the USA that were once in the library in La Casita.

Yet officially, the entire operation was done to promote the safety of children.

That was mid-August.

If CPS officials cared about the safety of the children who use the Whittier playlot, they might have ordered the removal of the fencing they erected to block reporters and citizens from the La Casita during the quickie demolition. Above, three weeks after CPS ordered the destruction of La Casita the fencing is still there, but is now posing am attractive nuisance for children, hundreds of whom use the playlot every day. The above photograph was taken over the Labor Day weekend and is facing east towards the main building. Substance photo by John Kugler.Now it's early September, and CPS officials have managed to create several safety hazards out of the work they did to make themselves safe from reporters while they destroyed the library and community center.

Driving by the Whittier Playlot on Labor Day weekend, we saw just how CPS cares about minority public school children. Instead of pavement over the loose gravel and what was supposed to be "asbestos" where the building had been, there is still a mess. And the CPS slapdash fencing around the play lot will kill a kid one day soon as it hangs more and more precariously over the play areas.

The following is a link to the dangerous conditions at the Whittier school play lot:


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