CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago Public Schools parent could not understand why her emails were not getting to her son’s case manager.
She was stunned when she said it she figured out it was because they were being filtered by the district. CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov looked into why Wednesday night.
We joined Nancy Curran as she greeted her son, Oliver, as he got off his school bus. He was back in school two days a week this week after undergoing surgery related to his disability. The other days, a Chicago Public Schools teacher comes to Oliver.
But Curran said Oliver’s home instruction was delayed for weeks because emails to his school case manager were blocked.
“His teacher called me and said: ‘You know, I’m not getting your emails, or they have like a four day delay on them. What do you think is going on?’” Curran said.
Curran dug through her emails and realized they had been intercepted by a district official. For instance, one email that she sent to Oliver’s case manager on Sept. 6 did not show up in that case manager’s inbox until a full week later – forwarded by that district official who was never CC’d on that original email.
“She’s holding on all of the emails, and she’s just letting them out as she sees fit,” Curran said.
Curran believes her outspoken advocacy and public criticism of CPS’ special education program and its practices are the reason she has been flagged. She said she asked CPS about it.
“They will not respond to my inquiries either,” she said.
Curran added that she never got any notice or correspondence indicating that CPS would intercept her emails and read them first before passing them on.
“No, I just had to find that out all on my own,” Curran said.
She also questions the legality of intercepting parent emails without notice. That is why she filed a complaint with the Illinois State Board of Education, which is investigating fi the email issue delayed Oliver’s services.
“I’m following up with OIG…. I got a call back from the Office of Civil Rights, you know, because, you can’t block – a government should not be able to block an email,” Curran said.
CPS did not grant CBS 2’s request for an interview. But in a statement, a representative said the district has gone above and beyond to address issues, and added that it “took the rare step of designating a contact to manage the parent’s incoming emails to ensure they were going to individuals who could best help address any concerns.”
That representative went on to say it is within CPS’ legal rights to do so. Nowhere did she explain why CPS did it without Curran’s knowledge.