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Lawmakers eviscerate CPS for sexual abuse of students at hands of teachers, staff

Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018

By Hannah Meisel

* The Senate Education committee just wrapped up a marathon hearing on the sexual abuse students suffered from faculty and staff at dozens of schools for years. The hearing was called in response to a bombshell Tribune investigation published earlier this month that found hundreds of incidents, either kept under wraps or quietly dealt with.

Six+ hours of testimony yielded both gut-wrenching accounts from former students and angry exchanges between lawmakers and school officials.

The Tribune’s full coverage is here. An excerpt…

Speaking to an audience of at least 20 legislators and dozens of observers, former Walter Payton College Prep student Morgan Aranda said she lost her “sense of wonder and excitement” about school after she reported being groped and kissed at age 14 by one of her teachers. School and district officials repeatedly questioned her about the alleged abuse.

“I’m here to shed light on the re-traumatizing, intimidating interrogations, the questions of my dignity, of my intent, of my character” after reporting abuse, Aranda said, pausing at times to wipe tears away. Payton administrators and Chicago Public Schools investigators, she said, subjected her to a humiliating investigation that undermined her story.

“I was pulled from class to sit alone in a room with an old man who asked not how I felt or what they could do to make me feel safe in my school again — but what I was wearing when I had been assaulted,” said Aranda, now 22. “Do you know what it’s like to be made to feel like a criminal, when you are in fact the victim?”

Tamara Reed, who was an eighth-grader at Black Magnet Elementary when a substitute teacher sent her sexually explicit texts and solicited sex from her, spoke about the way school administrators suggested she was at fault for the abuse and the lasting pain the experience has caused.

“I will never be the same again because of what has been done to me. I struggle to connect with people and to trust them. I constantly wonder if the people around me mean well or mean me harm,” said Reed, also faltering at times as she became emotional.

* Moments from Twitter…

- Posted by Hannah Meisel        

  1. - Eat Foie Gras - Wednesday, Jun 20, 18 @ 4:55 pm:

    Awful. Another blow to Rahm’s re-election campaign and his handpicked, unelected CPS School Board.

  2. - Alex Ander - Wednesday, Jun 20, 18 @ 5:11 pm:

    But this even predates Rahm the way it sounds. The whole system needs cleaned and built from the ground up.

  3. - MyTwoCents - Wednesday, Jun 20, 18 @ 5:19 pm:

    I don’t buy that line from CTU in that tweet. Being a mandated reporter is not super difficult and doesn’t change. If you suspect anything you call & the responsibility is on the individual to call DCFS. If any administrator says to report it to anybody else & not call, that’s wrong. I don’t think you need constant training for that.

  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 20, 18 @ 5:34 pm:

    –There’s a chair marked for Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson at this morning’s legislative hearing on the district’s response to sexual abuse — but a spokeswoman says she will not be attending.–

    That’s because she’s only accountable to Emanuel.

    He’s the one who should be in that chair, anyway. Emanuel handpicks the school board and runs the show.

  5. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jun 20, 18 @ 8:21 pm:

    “But CTU is saying, sure, it’s amid an “information dump” and gets lost.”

    CPS clearly outlines the procedure from 2008:

    All employees are required to complete an online training module, “Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse: Training for Mandated Reporters”…
    …within one month of their date of hire.
    It doesn’t say anything about how often, but once per year seems more than adequate. The online training is self-paced and has a pre and post assessment, which means you have to pass in order to get a certificate of completion.

    If training needs to be more frequent, why hasn’t CTU included this in any contract in the past 10 years? Their pension pick-up was probably a higher priority.

  6. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 20, 18 @ 8:25 pm:

    –If training needs to be more frequent, why hasn’t CTU included this in any contract in the past 10 years? Their pension pick-up was probably a higher priority.–

    You’ve discovered the Da Vinci code, haven’t you? No matter the problem or issue, it all comes back to teacher’s unions and taxing pensioneers.

  7. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Jun 20, 18 @ 8:44 pm:

    Increase the penalty to a Class 4 felony for failure to report if a child is subsequently abused or neglected.

    Prosecutors rarely charge anyone for violating the mandated reporter act because it is currently a misdemeanor, which means a first time offender will not serve a day in jail.

    But if it is a felony, and it is a public employee, a felony conviction means they lose their pension.

    Has anyone asked Kim Foxx if she is investigating or filing charges?

  8. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jun 20, 18 @ 9:43 pm:

    ==it all comes back to teacher’s unions and taxing pensioneers.==

    Taxing Pensioneers are playing Pitchfork this year. I haven’t seen them in 10 years, which coincidentally, is the same amount of time CTU had to request more mandated reporter training.

  9. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 21, 18 @ 10:44 am:

    No one wants this to happen but it always does. Teachers, legislators, even presidents use their power to meet craven needs. Outside government organizations, justice is swifter. Inside schools, chambers, courtrooms and tbe Oval Office, laws, rights, politics, and justice forces us to watch a frustrating crawl towards justice.

    Sorry, but we don’t dump people from their careers, reputations or elected offices until we have evidence, rulings and lawyers. We don’t let a well-meaning witch hunt destroy lives.

    So instead, it’s politics all day and lies and spin every night.

  10. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Jun 21, 18 @ 1:23 pm:

    ==Increase the penalty to a Class 4 felony for failure to report if a child is subsequently abused or neglected.==


    Reporting is a judgement call. Often things are not absolutely clearly wrong. Make reporters fearful and they might swamp the system with nuisense calls. And the follow up by DCFS itself can be traumatic.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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