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Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Tuesday, February 21, 2017.
Hundreds of Chicagoans gathered Monday to protest President Donald Trump near the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Activists across the country hoped that protesting Trump on Presidents Day would send a clear message. "It actually makes sense, because what better day to protest someone who is doing wrong for you country, than the leader himself on the day you should celebrate the great leaders who actually helped this country," protester Michael Howard told WBBM. [WBBM-AM]
A serious financial crisis has hit the the public school system in Gary, Indiana. The district has had to close six buildings in the last two years and it's a challenge to meet payroll every month and pay vendors, including health insurance and buses, according to WBEZ. On top of that, the school board approved closing Jefferson Elementary School and two other facilities at the end of the school year. "I truly believe if we can really make a turn around and show higher test scores and better behavior from the kids, they might have to reconsider closing Jefferson," the principal of Jefferson Elementary School Michael Buckner told WBEZ. "I'm hoping and praying for that to happen." [WBEZ]
The grandson of 34th Ward alderman Carrie Austin has been charged with "first-degree murder, robbery, tampering with evidence and possession of a handgun by a felon" for a January 30 shooting in Louisville, Kentucky, according to the Sun-Times. Kenneth Austin, 28, was arrested on the south side earlier in February based on a warrant from Louisville and is in custody at the Cook County Jail. [Sun-Times]
The "day without immigrants" protest had a significant effect on attendance at Chicago Public Schools, with about 50,000 students staying home February 16. On the same Thursday in 2016, attendance at CPS was 94 percent compared to 85 percent on the day of the protest in 2017. Attendance was only 76 percent at schools with mostly Hispanic students. Around 94 percent of the students at Reilly Elementary School are Hispanic and an anonymous teacher at Reilly said that half of his students were absent. "Students have told me that their fellow classmates are not here because their parents are fearful 'la migra'—or Immigration [agents]—might come to their home today," the anonymous teacher told DNAinfo Chicago. [DNAinfo Chicago]
Democratic U.S. rep Cheri Bustos has decided to stay in Congress instead of running for governor in 2018. Bustos was recently recommended by U.S. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to become a co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee in Congress, which was a "big part" of her decision to not run for the highest office in the state. [Sun-Times]