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Not every situation requires a counter-punch

Thursday, Sep 12, 2019

* The horrific background to this topic is here if you need it. Tribune

In what federal officials called a historic enforcement action to protect students from sexual violence, Chicago Public Schools has entered into a legally binding agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and pledged extensive reforms in its handling of abuse and assault cases.

“This is one of the deepest dives that we have done” of a major urban public school district, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Kenneth Marcus said of his office’s yearslong investigation.

“This is an extraordinary and appalling case,” Marcus added. “It is one of the worst that we have seen in the elementary, secondary school context.” […]

The department began its investigations in 2015 but intensified the effort last year after the Tribune’s “Betrayed” series documented more than 500 police reports of sexual assault or abuse of a child inside a Chicago public school during the prior decade, and uncovered child-protection failures that extended from neighborhood schools to the district’s downtown offices and the state capital.

* Um, what?…


Your public school system employed hundreds of sexual predators and that is your response?

…Adding… From June of last year

U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are calling on U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to examine the sex abuse scandal at Chicago Public Schools, calling it a “horrifying situation.”

In a letter sent Thursday to DeVos, the two Illinois Democrats wrote that they were concerned federal education officials may be ignoring systemic child-protection breakdowns that could be “putting Chicago schoolchildren at greater risk of becoming victims of sexual abuse.”

So, both of our Democratic US Senators asked the Education Secretary to step in. She did. And now Lightfoot is complaining about it? Ridiculous.

…Adding… June 26, 2018 press release from Lightfoot for Chicago

Following is a statement from mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot in response to the news that Chicago Public Schools’ leadership has removed two principals in response to the sexual abuse scandal:

“The mayor and his hand-picked school board, with its revolving door of CEOs, have failed our kids again and again–from refusing to address root causes of this sexual abuse crisis to neglecting special education and janitorial services.

“This administration has been busying itself with window dressing fixes. What our kids need is wholesale change–and that starts at the top.

“Firing a couple of principals just doesn’t cut it. We need to know why Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CEO Janice Jackson waited five months to take action–a delay that has gone unexplained and speaks to an epic failure of leadership. We also need an elected, representative school board that Chicagoans can hold accountable in moments like these.”

She has since kept Jackson at CPS and killed an elected school board bill.

…Adding… Tribune has full quote

“I feel comfortable that Dr. Jackson and her team frankly learned a very, very valuable lesson about making sure that we’re doing everything we can inside of the classroom, keep our students safe, initiating very rigorous background checks on people who are engaging with students and then when we see something, having an appropriate process to do the investigation where we’re not revictimizing young children,” Lightfoot said.

Asked about the Department of Education’s criticism of CPS, Lightfoot responded: “This is the same Department of Education headed up by Betsy DeVos? Yeah. Well. I take a little bit of what they say with a grain of salt.”

The mayor added: “We’re committed to making sure that our students are safe but as you see as a theme, there are members of the federal government who think it’s appropriate to tee off against Chicago. I read with great interest the comments from the head of the civil rights division for the department of education and as I said, I take some of those comments with a grain of salt. Consider the source. But nonetheless we’re going to do what’s necessary to keep our children safe.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

35 Comments »
  1. - Glum - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 1:52 pm:

    She better walk that back quickly. If a man had made that comment given the circumstances it would be political suicide.


  2. - Juvenal - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    Where is the #MeToo response?


  3. - Montrose - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 1:55 pm:

    I don’t understand Lightfoot’s fascination with publicly fighting with national folks - Cruz, Ivanka, DeVos. I think it comes down to it being an easy way to play to Chicago voters while distracting from real issues.


  4. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 1:58 pm:

    Just because CPS failed to protect children in its care from sexual assault doesn’t mean the Department of Education is not trying to politicize this.

    Look what’s happening in California with the homeless “crisis.”

    Having said that, we already have a federal monitor overseeing the Police. I’m not opposed to oversight of CPS. But anyone who thinks this is limited to CPS is fooling themselves. It’s not a Catholic Church thing either. Or a Boy Scout thing. A close examination of any large urban school district will likely have similar results. I’d like to think Sec. DeVos is looking at other school districts too, not just Chicago’s.


  5. - Nick - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:01 pm:

    Lightfoot was right and it was smart to slam Ted Cruz.

    The problem is her kneejerk response seems to be to do that for everyone.


  6. - Frank talks - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:01 pm:

    Oh that’s right years of sexual abuse at CPS and it’s Betsy Devos who caused this?
    Again her team is playing on a semi-pro level and trying to be snarky in a subject matter that has no room for snark.


  7. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    ” “This is the same Department of Education headed up by Betsy DeVos? Yeah. Well. I take a little bit of what they say with a grain of salt.”

    Wrong answer.
    Wrong answer……wrong answer…wrong answer….wrong answer…..

    Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.


  8. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    “Not every situation requires a counter-punch”

    Lori likes to fight and she believes she’s very good at it.

    Much like Rahm, bellicose is her brand.

    And like Rauner, she has yet to learn that the tactics and strategies that make you successful in a campaign aren’t always the best tactics and strategies to make you successful at governing.

    – MrJM


  9. - Moe Berg - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:05 pm:

    Cringe. Despite her professional and educational accomplishments, Lightfoot is handling elected office like the amateur she is.

    I despise DeVos. But she’s not the one in the wrong here. This was necessary corrective action.


  10. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    Reflex. Attack anyone who says anything negative. Hmmm, who does sound like?


  11. - NoGifts - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    And she missed a great opportunity to blame it on her predecessors and take credit for improving the situation.


  12. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    sorry, neeed to proofread better. Who does that sound like?


  13. - Steve - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    Not a good moment for Mayor Lightfoot especially since her daughter isn’t part of the CPS system.


  14. - SSL - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    I thought Rahm was the master at being defensive, but Lori just established a new standard, and looked childish doing so.


  15. - Moe Berg - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    MrJM: 100%

    “My way or the highway” isn’t a good look in a city facing Chicago’s troubles.

    At this rate, the goodwill afforded Lightfoot will be exhausted by November.


  16. - Think Again - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    It seems as though the Mayor’s response sounds eerily like the dismissive tone of the Catholic Church leadership when their dynamic broke???

    Focus, Mayor . . . .it is about the children for the love of goodness. . . . . . .not the issue on which to issue partisan nonsensical statements. Do better.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:19 pm:

    Anytime Mayor Lightfoot would like to build consensus instead of being angry for the sake of anger, that would be a nice change.

    ===the tactics and strategies that make you successful in a campaign aren’t always the best tactics and strategies to make you successful at governing.===

    This.

    Forgetting there’s a difference between campaigns and governing is a first mistake that is exacerbated with the continuing of campaign tactics.


  18. - Downstate - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:22 pm:

    Her comments are a nice bookend to her predecessor’s diatribe on “Chicago Values”.


  19. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    Every day politickin’ requires knowledge of the duck… the bob… and the weave.

    Lighfoot may learn that fact…after a few painful rounds?


  20. - Jocko - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:33 pm:

    Lori could try and save face by mentioning the Department of Education’s proposed changes to Title IX…but would probably be better served by apologizing.


  21. - Arron shocked - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:36 pm:

    Blame the other guy. Fact is cps is a total trainwreck. Look at the money spent, the # of k7ds, the # of kids per a hool, and the graduation rates…the real ones,not the ones rahm inflates. Like him or not, rauner said bankruptcy was best for cps

    I think he was right and they need a new start…and I’m waiting to see how bad lori caves into jessie and ctu.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    ===rauner said bankruptcy was best for cps===

    Property taxes that were deflated during Daley and Rahm didn’t help. When funding begins to reflect actual value in property, then let’s see where real revenues are. It’s going to really-really hurt, but…

    ===I think he was right and they need a new start…and I’m waiting to see how bad lori caves into jessie and ctu.===

    You must really despise Rauner, he caved to CTU and CPS as well… ask the “Benedict Rauner” piece in the Sun Times.


  23. - TerribleTowel - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:44 pm:

    I appreciate Sens Duckworth and Durbin asking the federal DoE to intervene and investigate. If even they are looking to the administration for help with this issue, then LL is definitely in the wrong.


  24. - Father Ted - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    I get it. In the age of AOC, trying to score what in my day was called a “sick burn” is acceptable political discourse, even if it’s not necessarily supported by facts.


  25. - Montrose - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 3:01 pm:

    For someone that hates being compared to Rahm, she is doing a really good Rahm impression (in more ways than just this quote).


  26. - R A T - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 3:20 pm:

    Lightfoot has not done or said anything smart for awhile. She seems to be overwhelmed she instantly turned inane.


  27. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 3:23 pm:

    Mayor Emanuel always had his spin on things, but I don’t think he was ever this tone deaf and cynical. This is just disrespectful to CPS parents.


  28. - Earnest - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    >And like Rauner, she has yet to learn that the tactics and strategies that make you successful in a campaign aren’t always the best tactics and strategies to make you successful at governing.

    Unsolicited advice to the Mayor’s staff: do not let this woman get anywhere near Decatur with a power point projector.


  29. - Regular democrat - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    She has some Trump in her. Unfiltered ridiculous responses to very serious verified allegations. A.pattern is emerging


  30. - West Side the Best Side - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 4:41 pm:

    Well, at least unlike Big Bill Thompson’s comment about King George, Lori hasn’t threatened to punch anyone in the snoot - yet.


  31. - Amalia - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 4:45 pm:

    they are rushing things. on some policy issues, on some grant spending things. on this. slow down and think, please.


  32. - Wensicia - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 5:19 pm:

    An inappropriate response to the federal government’s opinion on the sexual abuse, of children, within CPS is another low moment in Lightfoot’s public commentary. Think before you talk, Mayor.


  33. - Dr Zoos - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 9:06 pm:

    Ostrich Response by Lightfoot….given the seriousness & numbers involved…..stoopid


  34. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 7:53 am:

    I would trust a snake before I would trust DeVos, but DeVos isn’t personally going to go to CPS, it’s going to be some hardworking public servants. Many people who work in these departments just want to do a good job.
    A grown woman shouldn’t have to be told that saying what’s on your mind isn’t always a good idea. Someone should tell her. If she doesn’t trust DeVos and think this is some scheme to “tee off against Chicago” she should hold her fire until that actually happens. It’s possible that DeVos can’t find a way make any money on this and won’t do anything harmful.


  35. - Veil of Ignorance - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 7:53 am:

    Lightfoot’s a fighter and her instincts are to mix it up with anybody who’s critical of her or her team. The problem is she doesn’t know how to override this habit when it’s really wrong and politically unwise. Slamming Trump or the Machine? Go for it. Punching down or dismissing community groups/activists who are passionate about their city (and may disagree with her) OR defending CPS’ huge negligence in failing to protect kids from sexual predators? Please rise above and take that high road. You’re the Mayor. If this keeps up, “Rahm 2.0″ will start to stick if only for the similar combative style.


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