OAKLAND -- Days into a sit-in to protest the closure of Lakeview Elementary School, the Oakland school district police force is ordering the demonstrators to clear the area.
"We're hoping the crowd will disperse on its own accord," district spokesman Troy Flint said on Monday morning.
But well after the stay-away order was issued, around 5 p.m., about 80 protesters -- many of them from the Occupy movement -- still rallied outside the school.
Protesters started the "People's Campus" -- summer courses teaching art, gardening and social justice in the closed school. Nearly 40 students were enrolled in the classes that are not affiliated with the district, but only seven children arrived.
"Unfortunately, the campus police from Oakland Unified School District scared the parents and children away, and they are not here," said Joel Velasquez, a parent leading the sit-in. "We're going to educate your children and show how education should look like."
Monday morning, organizers said that they would stay on the campus "until something changes." They were joined by more protesters later in the afternoon and were asking for Superintendent Tony Smith to resign. They are planning a noon Saturday at Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Lakeview is one of five elementary schools which the Oakland school board voted last fall to close at the end of the year as part of a downsizing plan; Smith said the $2 million a year in estimated savings would result in
Over the weekend, supporters rallied outside of Lakeview, demanding that the school district change its decision. The marquee at the Grand Lake Theater, just across the street from Lakeview, reads: "Why is Oakland closing schools while squandering millions on consultants/ Support the sit in at Lakeview school."
Flint said the district administration allowed the sit-in to continue over the weekend, as school closures are "a legitimate civic issue to protest."
The district will maintain its headquarters on Second Avenue, but plans to move some offices to Lakeview.
Still, he said, "While we recognize that the demonstrators are extremely upset about the decision, it's one that we feel is in the best interest of the district at this point. We are not going to reverse course."