State Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) announced August 13 that he will ask Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) to give the appropriate Senate committee subpoena power, in order to force Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials forward if they continue their silence amidst numerous incidents of sexual abuse, harassment, and assault within CPS, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
A July 25 letter to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Janice Jackson, from Republican Senators asked several follow-up questions after CPS officials testified before a joint Senate and House hearing in Chicago. As of August 13, neither the Mayor nor Dr. Jackson have responded to these inquiries. CPS has also provided very little information in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from the media.
“The unwillingness to come forth with direct answers to basic questions – such as how the sex offenders were disciplined, who made decisions to not immediately notify families and police of abuse and assault allegations, and whether employees who failed to immediately report allegations or evidence of abuse and assault to the proper authorities, as required by law, were disciplined or terminated – is troubling,” Righter said. “The Chicago Tribune revelations – detailing instances of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment, perpetrated by CPS employees and other students, then covered up by CPS officials – are shocking. And now, those students are being victimized once again by the deafening silence emanating from the Mayor’s office and CPS.
“If CPS and the Mayor continue their refusal to address what happened to their students and how it was allowed, we will ask Senate President Cullerton to authorize the use of subpoenas. This will allow the appropriate Senate committee to require the presence and testimony of CPS officials, so that we and the public can understand how this sort of abuse and assault was allowed to occur, and who decided to hide that from families and police,” Righter explained. “Those who played a part in victimizing these students must be held accountable and that process must start with honest and direct answers to the most basic questions as to how this occurred.”