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CTU on Hickey report: CPS, mayor, have failed our students – and Emanuel’s control of schools must end

Schools must have democratic oversight from elected, representative school board – the path forward to provide transparency and accountability that protects students from harm, says union.

CHICAGO, August 17, 2018—Today, CPS released a report on system-wide failures to protect students from sexual abuse – an appalling example of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s failed control our schools. CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey issued the following statement in response to the report's deeply troubling findings:

“Rahm Emanuel and his hand-picked school bosses have failed repeatedly to protect schoolchildren from harm,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “Emanuel’s hand-picked administrators and board of education have repeatedly rebuffed our efforts to establish an independent task force to address this issue, just as CPS has repeatedly bungled its efforts in re-fingerprinting educators.

“Our primary responsibility as educators is to ensure the safety of our students – a responsibility the mayor has undermined. Instead, Emanuel has closed nearly a hundred schools, slashed school budgets, robbed our school communities of veteran educators and created a dangerous shortage of social workers, clinical psychologists, counselors and certified school nurses. These are exactly the professionals best equipped to train students and staff to be alert to potential abuse, and to identify and address any threats to students. Our teachers, clinicians and paraprofessionals struggle under mayoral control—a school regime that has repeatedly covered up and concealed threats to student safety, whether that is rodent-infested buildings or sexual predators. Our schools and our students are little more than pawns in the mayor’s endless racket to enhance his political stature – a distorted agenda that has created what today's report calls "costly changes", and an inconsistent, dangerous culture in our schools that undercuts our students’ very safety and trust in our school communities.

“Rahm Emanuel owns this crisis – and he owns every single crisis our school district has confronted since he took over in 2011. His failed leadership of our schools must end, and the people of this city must be granted what they have repeatedly demanded – an elected, representative school board that is accountable, transparent and committed first, foremost and always to the wellbeing of our students and their school communities, rather than the mayor’s political fortunes.”

Chicago Teachers Union