The mere sight of Schools Chancellor Cathie Black at a hearing by the Panel for Educational Policy brought boos from the crowd.**
The majority of the people inside the auditorium were parents, students, and UFT supporters. They were so angry that Panel for Educational Policy voted Tuesday to close 10 schools and will vote again Thursday night on closing another 13.
After the elected officials and UFT president spoke, some students used their speaking time to chant.
Though the moderator tried to maintain control, there was an organized chaos as more than a thousand people followed the students' lead and walked out. After a short rally outside, those students left on buses they said were provided by the UFT.
Before the meeting started, Deputy Mayor for Education Dennis Walcott said debate was an important part of the process, but would stand firm.
"We understand this is an emotional issue, we have a responsibility to make sure there are high quality schools for all students," Walcott said.
After the walk-out, the debate inside took on a much quieter tone as many of the people who stayed behind spoke up in support of underperforming schools to close.
**Which included members of Make the Road New York (MRNY).
"Today, with 12,600 dues-paying members, MRNY is a unique amalgam of worker center, legal clinic, citizenship school, mutual aid society, policy shop, protest factory and church. Its four offices in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island are an egalitarian oasis for members, who gather there for conversation and classes..."