CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Public Schools is taking action after a scathing report which said the school district failed to protect students from sexual abuse.
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez talked to the head of the school system to find out what’s being done to address the issue.
“Nothing is more important than student safety to us.”
A powerful statement from CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson.
Yet a Chicago Tribune investigation found during a 10 year period, police investigated 523 reports at city schools, including allegations of students being raped or sexually abused.
At times, by staff or faculty members.
One of those cases involves teacher Elliott Nott, who in 2016, was accused of installing a motion-activated camera in a bathroom at Ogden International Elementary School where he taught music.
Nott was charged with unauthorized videotaping and one count of child pornography.
But Nott was just one of the problem teachers the report uncovered.
At Simeon Career Academy, a track coach was arrested after allegedly raping a 16-year-old female student repeatedly.
When asked with all the allegations and crimes if was there a culture of covering up this behavior in schools, Jackson responded “absolutely not.”
Still, CPS is taking steps to address the issue, outlining parts of the plan in an email to parents.
At the top of the list, background checks on all current employees.
The plan also includes comprehensively investigating all reported incidents and retraining all employees on their obligations to report any physical or sexual abuse of children.
“What we have to do is make sure that that collective responsibility is there so that everybody knows their responsibility for reporting inappropriate behavior, relationships, grooming activities, etc.,” said Jackson.
CPS has also hired a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Illinois Executive Inspector General to conduct a top to bottom review of how the school district handles allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct.
CPS did not say how long that review would take but said details would be made public once available.