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Parents Upset Over Delay In Removing Teachers For Inappropriate Relationships

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Jordan Elementary Community School (Credit: CBS)

Jordan Elementary Community School (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Angry parents met with the principal of a Rogers Park elementary school Thursday morning, after two female staffers were removed from classrooms, due to allegations of inappropriate conduct with underage students.

CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports the parents claimed they only got the runaround after meeting with the principal at Jordan Elementary Community School.

CBS 2 has learned two women in positions of authority at Jordan are suspected of having inappropriate relationships with underage boys. The two women allegedly had been exchanging inappropriate text messages with male students at Jordan.

After seeing the story Wednesday night on TV, a few dozen parents showed up at the school Thursday morning, and waited outside until the principal agreed to meet with them.

They got their way, but they didn’t get the answers they wanted.

“He said that the teachers who were let go were removed from the school yesterday, but these allegations were known of last school year,” Felicia Washington said. She said the principal acknowledged knowing about the allegations months ago.

The parents said the alleged inappropriate conduct took place last school year, and complaints were filed then, but nothing was done until this week.

One mom said she confronted her son’s teacher in May.

“I told her, and she started to shake, and … almost started crying. And I’m like, ‘You don’t know anything about this?’ And she’s like, ‘No, this is the first time I’m hearing it,’” Ruth Longsworth said. “I said, ‘After I leave you, I’m going to the principal to make him aware of it. I went to him, I brought it up. He said ‘We were already familiar with it. We’ve investigated it. There’s no substance to it.’ And I thought that I did exactly what I was supposed to.”

Bernita Camper, a former teacher’s aide who has pulled her son out of Jordan, said she saw one teacher send a text to a student around midnight, and reported the incidents to the school.

“She wouldn’t show her text message, but I saw what he texted her, and it was not something a student texts a teacher. It was inappropriate. It was concerning,” Camper said. “Clearly my cries were not heard, or it was just thrown out the window. They just kept doing what they wanted to do.”

A teacher who asked CBS 2 to remain anonymous said, “There were so many overtly inappropriate things going on – touching and more – that teachers, parents, neighbors reported to CPS and nothing happened.”

Parents said the two women were allowed to teach summer school after the allegations came to light.

“The questions we had ‘Why wasn’t it dealt with last year? Why the action had to wait till this year, and not taken last year, when it was brought up,’” said one woman whose grandchildren attend Jordan. “Why didn’t the principal do his job and alert the parents, grandparents about this issue? It shouldn’t have took all this.”

Parents said they asked the principal on Thursday why there was such a long delay in removing the staffers from the classroom.

After the teachers were removed from the classroom on Wednesday, the parents wanted to know why there was such a lag in taking action.

“He stated because of the protocol” to conduct an investigation before taking any disciplinary action, Washington said.

Camper said she feels like Jordan is no longer a safe environment for her son, so she took him out of the school.

Other parents said if the allegations are true, they want some direct answers from the CPS Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

“What could you do to make us think that it won’t happen again?” Monia Johnson said.

CPS officials said the employees have been removed from the classroom, pending the outcome of an investigation. The district would not discuss the specific allegations, or any claims of how the investigation has been handled.

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