by Sari Zeidler, CNN
(CNN) Amid blaring horns and intermittent chants, Chicago Public School teacher Xian Barrett called CNN from the picket lines Monday morning.
“I’m a union activist, but most of us are these days,” said Barrett, who teaches law in American society and Chicago history at Chicago’s Gage Park High School.
“At the height, we’ve got about 50 students and our entire staff of about 70 – it’s more like 80 – staffers, teachers, clerks, assistant teachers. And we had a rally, we had a singalong, we picketed the entrances,” he said describing the first morning of a strike that left about 350,000 Chicago students without school today.
Surrounded by supportive staff and students, Barrett explained that in the afternoon union buses and buses furnished by community organizations would come to gather Gage Park supporters and transport them to downtown Chicago, where they expected to join a larger crowd there to support the union that represents nearly 30,000 teachers and support staff.
"It shows the power of what happens when unions work with students and families directly," Barrett said.
But parents might not stay supportive for long.