Friday, June 8, 2018

BETRAYED Chicago schools fail to protect students from sexual abuse and assault, leaving lasting damage #mcps #MeTooK12 #SameHere

They were top athletes and honor-roll students, children struggling to read and teenagers seeking guidance.

But then they became prey, among the many students raped or sexually abused during the last decade by trusted adults working in the Chicago Public Schools as district officials repeated obvious child-protection mistakes.

Their lives were upended, their futures clouded and their pain unacknowledged as a districtwide problem was kept under wraps. A Tribune analysis indicates that hundreds of students were harmed.

Drawing on police data, public and confidential records, and interviews with teens and young adults who spoke out, a Tribune investigation broke through the silence and secrecy surrounding these cases and found that:

When students summoned the courage to disclose abuse, teachers and principals failed to alert child welfare investigators or police despite the state’s mandated reporter law.

Even in cases where school employees acted swiftly, they subjected young victims to repeated interrogations, inflicting more psychological pain and defying basic principles intended to preserve the integrity of an investigation.

Ineffective background checks exposed students to educators with criminal convictions and arrests for sex crimes against children. And CPS failed to disclose to other districts that past employees had resigned after investigators found credible evidence of abuse and harassment.

Whether the sexual attacks were brutal rapes, frightening verbal come-ons or “creepy,” groping touches, the students often felt betrayed by school officials and wounded for years.

One young athlete, a 16-year-old honors student aiming for a law career, began cutting advanced chemistry and math classes to avoid a track coach who raped her repeatedly in his office at Simeon Career Academy. Even after he was arrested, “she didn’t know if she wanted to go to school any more. She told me she felt alone. … She talked about suicide,” Simeon Principal Sheldon House testified at the coach’s 2016 criminal trial.

At Hubbard High School, Kyana Aguilar was 17 when she reported a security guard for groping her buttocks and breast. “I trusted him because he worked at the school,” she told the Tribune. “He was an ordinary person who violated me. It could happen to anyone.”

Aguilar is now 21, and the guard is behind bars. Still, she said, “there are some nights where I think about it and can’t sleep. It still haunts me.”

The exact number of cases in which school workers sexually assaulted students remains elusive, in part because CPS does so little to understand and tackle the problem. The district acknowledges that it does not track child abuse by its employees in a consistent or formal manner...


  1. The Tale of the Two Cities?

  2. The burning question is:


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