Oakland parents plan to 'liberate' Parker Elementary School

Parents of Parker Elementary School students and their allies are planning to assume control of the Oakland school starting Wednesday evening on the last day of school in the Oakland Unified School District, organizers said.

Following outcries over the last three months about the district's consolidation plan, which will affect Parker Elementary School, parents and their allies at 5 p.m. Wednesday plan to occupy the school and reopen it Monday as Parker Community School.

A celebration of the liberation is planned for noon Saturday at the school at 7929 Ney Ave.

"We have to do everything we can and use everything we know how to use to continue to stay in the fight against school closures, the fight against gentrification and the fight for our men, women and children in our community," Parker parent Rochelle Jenkins said in a statement.

The outcries from the community over the school district's consolidation plan have involved at least one hunger strike, at least one student-led walkout, and a one-day unfair labor strike by the district's teachers.

Despite the outcries, the school district has remained steadfast in its plan for consolidation due to declining enrollment and therefore declining funding for the district.

Opponents of the consolidation plan, which will affect 11 schools, argue that the plan disproportionately hurts Black and Hispanic students.

School district spokesman John Sasaki asked how Black students and Hispanic students will fare if the district fails to enact the plan.

In February, the school board voted to close seven schools before the 2023-24 school year. The district's plans also include truncating two schools to grades K-5 from K-8 and merging two other schools.

The school board made its decision Feb. 8 and affirmed it on Feb. 18.