Parents Double Down on Demands From Oakland Unified School District

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Nearly two weeks since parents essentially took over a shuttered Oakland elementary school, they doubled down on their demands Monday.

The group Parker Liberation is giving the district a timeline to respond if it wants the group to pack up and leave the school.   

“There is nothing that will make us leave this school aside from these demands,” said parent Azlinah Tambu.

They believe their demands are clear

“It's just a shame that we have to be here fighting for something as far as children’s education,” said parent Rochelle Jenkins. 

In a press conference Monday, frustrated parents, living inside and operating an unsanctioned summer school at the newly-closed Parker Elementary, are giving Oakland Unified 24 hours to call a special meeting and respond to their demands.

“This is a dangerous area and all our welcoming schools are too far for children to walk,” said Tambu.

The parent and organizer said they will pack their bags if the district reopens Parker creates a new program for students at Community Day -- an alternative school -- and rescinds the elimination of grades 6th through 8th at La Escuelita Elementary.

“With the closure of Community Day that means that the gap between public education and incarceration becomes even shorter,” said Tambu. “These children will be on their way to juvenile hall.”

All three schools are part of the district's consolidation plan that involves closing or merging a dozen schools over the next two years. Changes the group believes disproportionately hurts students of color.

“It's not just about my kids, it's about other people's kids as well,” said Jenkins. “The community is a village and we have to protect and take care of our village.”

NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke to Azlinah Tambu, one of the parents at the forefront of the battle with the Oakland Unified School District about the closing of Parker Elementary.

In a statement to NBC Bay Area, OUSD expressed concerns about the makeshift summer program saying it lacks proper supervision, has no background checks for the so-called teachers and has created safety hazards, writing, in part, “if this was an OUSD-sanctioned program, these serious safety issues would cause the district to immediately pause the program … we continue to demand that they cease operating and leave the premises immediately.”

The group says the hazards were left by the district, and are being addressed and those teaching are either parents or teachers who have previously gone through background checks through the district.

The group is giving the district until the end of the day Tuesday to respond. If they don’t, they aren't leaving.

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