CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Public Schools have “inexcusably failed” to protect students. That’s the finding from a federal investigation looking at case after case of sex assault and abuse.
Thursday a plan was put in place to keep students safe. Now the mayor’s office is firing back against the United States Department of Education.
“Tragic and inexcusable,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Kenneth L. Marcus with the U.S. Department of Education.
The department did not mince words, calling CPS investigations into past sexual abuse allegations “inadequate, unreliable and often conducted by untrained staff.”
“I was shuttered and into the dark,” said sex abuse victim Morgan Aranda. “It felt like I was the one under investigation.”
It’s a problem CBS 2 has been chronicling for years.
Now the Department of Education is requiring CPS to provide a second independent review of complaints that may have been mishandled, develop a process for responding to complaints and change the districts Title IX procedures to ensure an impartial investigation.
Wednesday CPS CEO Janice Jackson appeared before a U.S. House Committee in Washington to talk about the impact of poverty and violence on her students.
“They are exposed to gun violence, gang activity, substance abuse, incarceration of a loved one and loss of a loved one,” she said.
She’s been criticized for being absent in the past for hearings on sex abuse allegations, but Jackson sent out an email blast this morning acknowledging that some students “did not receive the comprehensive support they deserved.”
And the district has already taken steps towards fixing that.
The Department of Education said there is still more to be done.
Thursday Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired back, saying that she believes some members of the federal government enjoy “teeing off” against the City of Chicago.
“I take some of those comments with a grain of salt considering the source,” she said. “But nonetheless, we’re going to do what’s necessary to keep our children safe.”
The Department of Education said its investigation began back in 2015 when it received one of two complaints alleging that the district failed to respond to sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations. Those complaints involved both teachers and other students.