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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 April 2009

Parents occupy schools in Glasgow to stop closures

PARENTS AT two closure threatened Glasgow schools have taken the bold and courageous step to occupy school buildings. Parents and grandparents have barricaded themselves into St Gregory's and Wyndford Schools (the buildings are adjacent to each other) in the Maryhill area of the city. They are determined to remain until the council reconsiders its proposals.

Eric Stevenson, CWI, Glasgow

As part of its so-called modernisation programme, Glasgow city council is proposing to close a further 13 primary schools and 12 nurseries throughout the city to save a claimed 5 million.

Some 2,000 children (and their parents/carers) will be affected by this proposal to move them to other accommodation. In many cases, the children will have a substantial extra distance to travel causing difficulties for the parents.

Parent Debbie Watson commented: "If our schools close within the Wyndford community, our community dies. It's already in a bad state as it is, but our community will fight to the bitter end to keep our schools open. We will be here until the very end, until Glasgow city council and the Labour councillors wake up."

The protesters are receiving enormous support from local people. A support rally was held on 4 April. Over 100 people gathered outside the schools to show solidarity for the folk inside the schools

A further march around the streets of Wyndford took place on 9 April as hundreds of families and supporters marched to highlight their opposition to this proposal.

Social deprivation

Some of the school catchment areas are blighted with unemployment, health problems, drug issues, and poor housing as a result of low investment over the years. With the current economic circumstances facing working class people these problems will only increase.

As a result, local communities are fighting back with action committees coming together throughout the city. A well attended demonstration calling for a city-wide rethink was held only a few weeks ago in the city centre with speakers demanding that the council withdraw its proposals and invest more funds in the areas affected.

The council claims that the schools earmarked for closure are no longer fit for purpose. But it begs the question: Why has the council not spent money over the years to repair and upgrade the buildings?

Rather than close the schools they should find the money to invest in these schools and therefore in the local communities. After all, if New Labour can find millions to host the Commonwealth games, and many more millions to bail out greedy bankers, then the money can be found to invest in the city's children.

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In The Socialist 15 April 2009:

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