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Collins questions CPS on sexual abuse allegations against staff

collins 042418SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) joined members of the Illinois Senate Education Committee in a public hearing in Chicago to question Chicago Public Schools representatives in the wake of reports that allege faculty and staff have permitted a culture of sexual harassment and abuse against students for years.

CPS CEO Janice Jackson was not present at the hearing at the Bilandic Building Wednesday.

“Dr. Jackson’s absence today is inexplicable. The CPS witnesses were not the decision makers and they failed to answer many of the more detailed questions required to discern negligence,” Collins said. “The Chicago Public Schools system is a public entity, accountable to the public. We should have heard from the CEO today.”

Collins called for the hearing after an in-depth report by the Chicago Tribune detailing a lax background check policy which allowed the hiring of teachers with red flags in their histories and allegations by dozens of students against faculty and staff within the school system across a 10-year period. She has called for a study into what mandatory reporting laws are already on the books and how and why personnel have allegedly failed to comply with them.

“I don't think apologies are enough,” Collins said, addressing Morgan Aranda, 22, a former student of Walter Payton College Prep who testified to the committee about her experiences while she was a student. “I think we already have laws on the books that were violated. What’s to say once the media spotlight is off the issue, we won't be confronted with the same issue? If we're all in this endeavor to protect our children, this has been a systemic failure by all adults.”

Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins

Deputy Majority Caucus Chair
16th Senate District

Years served:
2003 - Present

Committee assignments: Financial Institutions (Chairperson); Insurance; Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital (TR).

Biography: Born in McComb, Miss.; grew up in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Studied journalism at Northwestern University and graduated from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Divinity Schoool. Emmy Award-nominated news editor at CBS-TV in Chicago and 2001 Legislative Fellow with U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Recipient in 2011 of a Lifetime Achievement Award for Financial Literacy Leadership from the Illinois state treasurer.

Associated Representatives:
Mary E. Flowers
André Thapedi