In the aftermath of the Chicago school strike, citizens are still scratching their heads as to why the strike occurred in the first place.
“We have schools here?” asked Martin Smotilli, 46. “Since when?”
Many Chicago residents share this confused sentiment.
David Ortellino, 56, runs a butchery in Wrigleyville. He said when found out about the strike, he thought someone was trying to pull a huge joke on the entire city.
“I still don’t know if the strike actually happened or what,” he said. “It’d be a pretty funny prank when you think about it.”
Ortellino claims to have never seen a school in session within city limits.
“I thought I drove by a school in 2006,” he said. “But that was actually a factory. Close, but no cigar.”
“There are a lot of buildings that look like schools,” he added. “But they’re always empty. Always.”
Angelou D’Anthon, who works as a fifth grade teacher at Albany Park Elementary, said she didn’t believe the news when she heard it, either.
“I was trying to explain what water is when the principal came over the PA and told the teachers to meet in the lounge,” she explained. “He told us the school would be shut down during the strike, and I was like, this is a school?”
“I was just incredulous. That place really counts as a school?” she added.
As school returns, both students and their parents share D’Anthon’s skepticism.
“That’s what that is?” asked Grady Henders, a third grader at Bateman Elementary. “I thought we were on a TV show or something. I would always read about school in books and think of how much fun it sounded. This is disappointing.”
His mother, Helen, was surprised to find out her child had been spending all day in school.
“You walk the streets of Chicago and you can’t believe that anyone here has been to a single day of any academic institution,” she said. “Looking at it, it does make sense. I guess I never really thought about where Grady goes after the bus leaves.”