Earlier this month, during a protest against school budget cuts Philadelphia police arrested Cheri Honkala, the Green Party’s 2012 Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate and National Coordinator of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. Honkala’s son attended the Moffett Elementary School, a Philadelphia elementary school that is scheduled to be closed, and was joined by a group of parents, students, and school district staff. This is one recent development in the struggle against major cuts to Philadelphia’s public schools. Honkala, as a parent and political figure, has long been a part of the struggle. The arrest took place during an attempted citizens’ arrest of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, for his administration’s cuts to the state education budget.
Philly Metro reports:
A group of teachers, parents and children from Moffet Elementary staged a sit-in on the bottom floor of Gov. Tom Corbett’s office in Center City Thursday after their attempts to perform a citizen’s arrest on Corbett were denied.
Organizer Cheri Honkala, whose son attends Moffet, led the protest in response to the recent cancellation of teachers’ contracts. She was arrested around 6 p.m. for trespassing after refusing to leave the lobby of 200 S. Broad St. and trying to pass a line of police officers to get to Corbett’s office.
The City Paper followed up on Honkala’s experience with the police:
She spent the next 10 hours in a holding cell before being taken to the Roundhouse, city police headquarters. When booking her, police misspelled her first name — Chevi — making it difficult for those trying to track her in the system to find her. She was given “a stay-away order” and released on her own recognizance at 6 p.m. Friday — about 24 hours after her arrest on a misdemeanor.
“I saw people charged with robberies, aggravated assault and attempted murder let out,” before her she says.
“Somebody with strings ordered this one,” she surmised.
Honkala, a longtime activist who has been arrested “a gazillion times,” says she encountered something she hadn’t faced before. A municipal court judge ordered her to report for supervision by the city Probation Department this Thursday — long before her Nov. 13 court date. She plans to fight the misdemeanor charge, but says, “I totally got the message. They will send me to jail.”
She’s going to attend the next SRC meeting, at the School District’s headquarters this Thursday night, “right after I get ‘my supervision,'” she said.