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Update for Families Regarding Student Protections

Date: September 20, 2018 Author: Daniel Gomez Categories: News, Principal's Meassage

September 20, 2018

Dear CPS Parents and Families,

We are looking forward to welcoming students back for another great school year with you and your children. As we get closer to the opening of schools, I wanted to provide another update on our work this summer to ensure student safety. We made an unprecedented effort this summer to ensure that all adults serving in schools have cleared a comprehensive background re-check . To date, we have completed these checks on a total of 43,332 employees, and I am pleased to let you know that 97.9% of them have been cleared to work in our schools.

While there is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of adults serving in our schools are fully committed to keeping children safe, the small minority of employees whose records are
either still being processed or require deeper inquiry will receive the thorough review they deserve.

Adults who have not yet cleared our background check WILL NOT be permitted in CPS facilities until their background checks are complete. The safety of your children remains our highest priority and we will take every measure to ensure their well-being. In addition to re-checking backgrounds on tens of thousands of adults, we’ve also taken these additional steps based on the recommendations of former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Executive Illinois Inspector General Maggie Hickey. Ms. Hickey released her preliminary report earlier this summer, and we have taken significant steps to act on her recommendations.

● We created the district’s first Office of Student Protections and Title IX, which will be tasked to advocate for students, provide supports for survivors of abuse, and coordinate
the district’s response to any allegations of abuse in our schools.

● We formed a new partnership with the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center (CCAC) to train all employees on identifying and reporting abuse, and provide survivors with the
supports they need. Parents and community members can access these same trainings later this year at our 13 Parent University sites.

● We have strengthened our Volunteer Policy to ensure principals have the authority they need to investigate and supervise the adults who volunteer inside their buildings. All
volunteers who have regular contact with students must now register with the district annually, and have their backgrounds checked against sex offender registries and
records maintained by the Department of Children and Families.

● Finally, CPS has launched a district-wide education and awareness campaign to helpstudents, staff, and community members better understand how to identify and report
abuse. This includes updating our sexual education curriculum to make sure children have the tools to recognize inappropriate relationships and sexual abuse.

We will continue providing updates as we work to strengthen student protections. We look forward to welcoming your children back for what I know will be a positive and productive school year and I thank you for your continued support of Chicago Public Schools.