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Couple Sues CPS After Being Banned From School Board Meetings

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An outspoken couple with four kids attending Chicago Public Schools has filed a federal lawsuit, seeking to overturn a district decision banning them from public meetings of the Chicago Board of Education.

Rosemary Vega and her husband Jesus Ramos said the ban is a violation of their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances.

They have repeatedly criticized the board and its policies, in particular the 2013 decision closing 50 public schools. They appeared in a documentary about the school closings, called "Chicago Public Schools: Closed."

Their neighborhood school, Lafayette Elementary, was among the dozens shut down by CPS, despite impassioned pleas from Vega, Ramos, and other parents who wanted many of the schools kept open.

"We were just hoping that somebody was listening through all these hearings, through all these meetings, these rallies," Ramos said.


At one board meeting, Vega accused the board of "attacking our children and breaking our communities" by closing so many schools.

"You have made our community come together and fight this battle," she said.

In a letter, CPS officials accused Vega and Ramos of repeated disruptive behavior at Board of Education meetings, including the time Vega called one board member a coward.

The couple said, before they were banned, they had security assigned to them at meetings, and had been forcibly removed from meetings, once causing injury to Ramos.

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