By DON BABWIN, Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago teachers are hitting the picket lines as strike for the first time in 25 years. Meanwhile, city officials vow to keep the district's nearly 400,000 students safe until teachers return to the classroom.
Chicago Teachers Union officials say there's been progress in contract talks but the two sides were too far apart on key issues to prevent a strike.
City officials say more 144 schools will be open between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. so children can eat lunch and breakfast and have structured activities. Churches, libraries and other facilities will offer a place to spend the afternoon.
Police Chief Garry McCarthy officers will be at schools for kids' safety and to deal with potential protests and he'll send more into the streets to keep an eye on kids.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)