CHICAGO (CBS) — State lawmakers are demanding answers in the Chicago Public Schools sex abuse scandal, and have scheduled a public hearing on Wednesday to grill school officials.
Members of House and Senate education committees will meet at 10 a.m. at the Bilandic Building in Chicago. Representatives of the Chicago Public Schools and Illinois State Board of Education were expected to testify, along with CPS teachers and students.
A recent Chicago Tribune investigation found police investigated more than 500 reports of rape and sexual abuse at CPS over a 10-year period. In some cases, CPS employees failed to notify authorities; and in others, staff conducted their own investigations before reporting the allegations.
Wednesday’s joint House and Senate hearing will dive into what state lawmakers can legally remedy.
CPS already has committed to a number of changes, including rechecking the backgrounds of all district employees, volunteers, and contractors who work with children. The district also is implementing a child abuse public awareness campaign, and retraining all employees on child abuse reporting requirements.
The district’s plan of action asks politicians for help. Among its legislative suggestions, CPS wants to make it easier to remove predators from the classroom. Current law often requires victims to testify in front of the alleged abuser, and sometimes that doesn’t happen.
Chicago aldermen also plan to call for a hearing with CPS leaders, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services officials, Chicago police brass, child welfare experts, and representatives of the mayor’s office ahead of next month’s City Council meeting.