CHICAGO (CBS) — In the wake of the CPS student sex abuse scandal, the head of the Chicago Board of Education and the CEO of CPS are promising change.
The Chicago Board of Education’s Inspector General, Nick Schuler, is investigating reports of sexual misconduct where students may have been victimized. He will also review sexual abuse cases dating back at least eighteen years, amounting to hundreds of cases.
There is a shift from last week when CPS said formal federal prosecutor Maggie Hickey would be brought in to handle the entire probe at a cost of up to half a million dollars.
“Nothing is more important than creating a safer school district,” stated Frank Clark, the President of the Chicago Board of Education.
“The public can be assured that these investigations will be diligent and independent,” said Nick Schuler.
Dr. Janice Jackson, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, said, “The cost is not an issue here when we’re talking about protecting students.”
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez questioned Clark about his response after parents hinted that CPS investigating issues with their own staff can be considered a conflict of interest.
He responded, “This is why we moved it to Nick Schuler, in part, if there are, in fact, been people who have should’ve been held accountable and weren’t, they will.”
Schuler says he is concerned about having the money and staff to do the job. He says he currently has a staff of 19 and a budget of $2 million, but may need an additional 10 to 12 staff members to assume these new duties.
“If this is understaffed and we don’t get the resources that we need, we’ll be set up to fail,” he said.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel guaranteed the cost will not be a problem.
“We have to make sure our children are safe and secure and that parents actually have peace of mind in that way,” Emanuel said.
Lenett Reccord says it’s too late, saying too many children, including her daughter, have been abused by teachers and further hurt by what she perceives as a cover-up by the school staff. She says it seems like CPS only has one goal in mind: protecting themselves.
“I felt betrayed. I felt really betrayed,” Reccord said.
Reccord’s daughter, Tamara Reed, says she was 14 years old and in eighth grade at Black Magnet Elementary school in 2015 when a 28-year-old substitute teacher took her phone and added his number.
“We had random casual conversation, but over time it got more sexual,” explained Reed.
Reccord said, “He tapped her on her butt. He reached out. He kissed her in the school.”
The teacher, Aaron Williams-Banks, was later arrested and charged with criminal sexual assault, grooming, and solicitation of a minor. He pleaded guilty last month.
“He prayed upon her,” said Reed’s mother.
Reed claimed, “He had no right to take that from me. It’s changed me a lot, school-wise. I don’t like teachers being near me. I still have bad dreams about it.”
CPS added a page to its website dedicated to this issue. The webpage outlines the school district’s action plan and provides the DCFS hotline that can be used to report sexual misconduct.
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez and Derrick Blakley contributed to this report.