Six Chicago Public School dance teachers expressed their safety concerns through dance in a video posted online last week by the Chicago Teachers Union, but the effort has received backlash after several conservative websites linked to it.
In the video, the teachers perform dances they choreographed themselves to communicate their fears about safety surrounding CPS’ decision to reopen elementary schools to in-person classes on Monday. Five teachers perform indoors while another dances outside on what appears to be a metal ramp leading to a frozen lake. Some teachers danced with their children. The video ends with the call: “Safe return... or no return.”
“They all stand in solidarity with educators who are at risk, because no one should have to choose between their livelihood and their lives,” the Facebook post says.
The Moment We're Safe
Six rank-and-file dance teachers come together to use their art form to express their desire to feel safe amidst CPS' teacher return policy. Like others, these teachers are making a statement that any plan from CPS and the mayor should make sense, and they remain committed to continuing to teach. Some teachers are dancing with their children, including Beasley Elementary teacher Diana Muhammad, whose daughter overcame the deadly MIS-C due to COVID. They all stand in solidarity with educators who are at risk, because no one should have to choose between their livelihood and their lives.Posted by Chicago Teachers Union on Saturday, January 23, 2021
Fox called the video “bizarre” and said it had received “plenty of mockery on Tuesday.”
Some Facebook users commenting on the video also made fun of it and told teachers to “do your job.” Said one: “Wow this country is doomed if this is who we depend on to educate our children.”
CPS and the CTU are still negotiating an agreement to bring about 62,000 K-8 students and 10,000 teachers back for in-person learning on Monday. In-person classes have been canceled through Friday for about 3,200 pre-kindergarten and special education students while CTU teachers collectively refuse to work in classrooms until an agreement is reached.
Contributing: Stefano Esposito