CPS 'do-not-hire' workers rehired at charter, contract schools

Some workers accused of sex abuse, corporal punishment
CHICAGO (WLS) -- An investigation of Chicago Public Schools found that 163 workers who were banned from working in the district wound up working at CPS charter and contract schools.

Within that pool of 163 educators, the level of misconduct ranges from theft to offenses as bad as physical abuse, drugs and alcohol and sexual abuse.

The Office of Inspector General for the Chicago Board of Education did not name any schools where the employees were working or are currently employed.

Three employees found working at charter or contract schools during the 2016-17 school year were designated "do-not-hire" by CPS for sexual abuse. They are no longer employed.

Twenty-two of the former CPS employees working in that same year were designated "do-not-hire" due to corporal punishment. The report even found two of those former employees were given increased disciplinary responsibilities.

Since June, when educational leaders were first notified, the employees with the most serious offenses - like sexual assault - have been terminated. When the report was released, the inspector general's office recommended the board put a policy in place to let other schools know if they are hiring someone from their "do-not-hire" list and why.

"Until we issued our report there was no system in place by which charter and contract schools could learn that they had these people, these do-not-hire designations...on their files," said Inspector General Nicholas Schuler.

But officials from the CPS charter and contract schools said there is no system in place to let them know about the "do-not-hire" status.

The board said it is working on creating a notification system.

CPS issued this statement Tuesday:

"While charter and contract schools have autonomy under state law to hire and manage their own staff, CPS will do everything in its power to ensure all Chicago students attend a school staffed with the highest quality personnel. To improve coordination between the district and outside operators, we have encouraged all outside school operators to utilize the district's rigorous background check process, which requires prospective employees to allow CPS to disclose their DNH status to the school operator. Improving information sharing with our partners is a priority for the district, and we are committed to making significant improvements in this area."

The Illinois Network of Charter Schools issued this statement Tuesday:

"Safety and high-quality staff at charter schools are top priorities for our students - just like they are for CPS. Charter schools have not had access to the Do Not Hire list, but are required to run independent background checks for all staff, which they have done. We will work with our member schools to make certain that they take all appropriate actions to ensure high-quality staff. We also look forward to working with the district to ensure charter public schools have timely access to the Do Not Hire list in the future."
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