Not Crossing the Picket Line? Here's What Some Oakland Parents Are Doing With Their Kids During the Strike

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Oakland Unified is urging parents to send their kids to school during the teachers strike, which is set to begin on Thursday. All schools will remain open and staffed by principals and temporary teachers.

But what are Oakland parents who support the striking teachers and don't want to cross the picket line planning to do with their kids?

Here's what three parents we talked to said they had in store.

Hosting 'school' at home

Ché Abram, an Oakland mom, is offering to host other families' kids in her home during the strike. (Julia McEvoy/KQED)

Ché Abram intends to keep her son, a seventh-grader at Oakland SOL in Fruitvale, home for the duration of the strike. And because of a flexible work schedule, she's offering to watch other students at her house if their parents have to work.

"I come from a huge place of privilege and that means that [the strike] can last two months and I would be OK supporting my child at home," says Abram, who is married to a union construction worker and stresses the importance of solidarity with teachers. "And I would be OK helping support other families where I can."

Joining the picket line as a teachable moment

Alejandra Gonzales, center, with her family. (Julia McEvoy/KQED)

Alejandra Gonzales, a single mother of four, says she plans to support her kids' teachers by joining them on the picket line. She also intends to have her kids in tow and hopes it will be a valuable learning experience for them.

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"It is very important for them to see that you have to fight for what you want," she says. "And if I don't start teaching them now, when it's time for them to fight for whatever it is they want, they might not have the courage to do so."

Volunteering at a 'Solidarity Site'

Alex Park with her three children. (Alex Park)

Alex Park, whose kids attend Manzanita SEED, an elementary school in East Oakland, and Oakland SOL, says she's been calling and texting parents to see what resources they'll need to get through the strike, and has also been distributing flyers that list available options.

She also plans to volunteer at a nearby "solidarity site" for Oakland SOL, one of many local community centers throughout the city where kids can spend the day under the supervision of parent volunteers and receive free breakfast and lunch. Park says that location can accommodate about 70 students, and she's thinking about bringing in a multicultural dance instructor to engage and unite the kids.

"I didn't know what a solidarity school was until Friday," Park says. "For parents who feel like that's their only option, I think it's just a matter of putting on the flyer what's happening, when it's happening and what our options are."

She also noted the importance of parents sharing contact information and keeping in touch to "really organize and figure out how we can care for each other as a community."

For more on solidarity sites and where to find them, click here.

And we want to hear from you! Tell us your plans during the strike.