CHICAGO (CBS) — In the wake of the Chicago Public Schools sex abuse scandal, the school district is taking yet another step to help keep students safe.
On Thursday CPS announced it’s creating an office to deal directly with those allegations.READ MORE: Along With Chicago FOP, Alderman Wants To Repeal COVID Vaccine Mandate
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports some question whether all proposed changes will actually make a difference.
That’s Lenett Reccord’s reaction to news that CPS is creating an Office of Student Protections and Title IX to better prevent and address sexual abuse in the district’s 646 schools.
The 20 member team will be tasked with reporting and investigating allegations of sexual abuse as well as providing resources to victims.
“We’re only giving them 20 people? Within the first six months, those 20 people will be overworked,” said Reccord, the mother of a CPS sex abuse victim.
Reccord’s daughter Tamara Reed was just 14 when she was sexually assaulted by a substitute teacher.
Last week, she shared her story with Illinois lawmakers.
“Not a day goes by when what done to me does not interfere with my life or limit the life I lead in some way,” she said.READ MORE: Great Uncle Of Laquan McDonald Defends Decision To Support Rahm Emanuel For Ambassador Of Japan
In reaction to the scandal, CPS unveiled a comprehensive plan of action, including a new round of background checks and retraining staff on mandatory reporting, even going as far as telling staff to report any behavior they suspect might be suspicious.
But some worry what that could mean for traditional student-teacher relationships.
“Many of our kids are going to lose out on the connection that they would have with their teachers and principals,” said CPS board member Dr. Mahalia Hines.
“Maybe it’s clear from the policy point of view but it’s a lot less clear about what that means in terms of the practice of educators,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “And what we have to do in order to make sure we’re not being removed from our classrooms for the crime of tutoring a student.”
“People that are predators know how to make things look normal, so I would rather err on the side of reporting and being hyper-vigilant to change the culture than to be extra cautious around it,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson.
While Reccord applauds some of the steps Dr. Jackson is making, she would like to see more done.
“I want her to involve more parents of the children and not just the professionals, because it was the professionals that got us in this mess in the first place,” said Reccord.
Reccord also wants to see people who covered up sex abuse in CPS fired.
As for the new office, the budget will be about three million dollars and it’ll be staffed with new employees not existing CPS staff.MORE NEWS: 2 People Arrested Following Accidentally Shooting Of 2 Officers In Lyons
The goal is to have it up and running by the start of the new year.