Nearly 130 Chicago school workers out after background check review

A review of Chicago Public Schools’ background checks prompted by a newspaper investigation has resulted in 128 school district employees being terminated, recommended for dismissal or simply resigning under scrutiny.

Among the 128 workers were nine teachers, 35 people classified as classroom aides, and an unspecified number of people the district lists as substitute or hourly workers, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The district’s review, and additional measures to protect students, followed an investigation by the Chicago Tribune that used police data, records, and interviews with teens to reveal that “ineffective background checks exposed students to educators with criminal convictions and arrests for sex crimes against children.”

The Tribune reported that “investigators found credible evidence of misconduct” in 230 of 430 reports that school employees had sexually abused, assaulted, or harassed students. Chicago police investigated 523 reports of children being sexually assaulted or abused from 2008 to 2017, about one report a week.

Jennie Biggs, of the Raise Your Hand education advocacy group, said the district should provide more transparency, even if certain laws and privacy considerations must be adhered to. “If I was a parent with an athlete, I’d want to know who the coaches were. As a parent, you’re entrusting your kid with adults, and yeah, you do want to know,” Biggs said.

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