Wednesday, October 23, 2019
US flag

Chicago will lose millions over Title IX violations

Based on a disturbing Title IX violation pattern first reported in a Chicago Tribune investigation this summer, the US Department of Education announced Thursday that it would withhold $14.9 million from Chicago Public Schools, because the district fails to keep students safe from sexual abuse.


A middle school on Chicago’s southwest side (Steve Geer / iStock)

Although the feds made it clear that the sanctions were due to the lack of compliance by the district as a whole—four cases are now pending in the Office for Civil Rights, more than any other K-12 district in the nation—the Tribune identified specific cases in which the district failed to rein in claims of sexual abuse of its students.

For example, the OCR launched two investigations earlier this week into alleged sexual abuse of elementary students by peers: one at Brennemann Elementary and the other at Ogden International School. One teacher stands accused of drinking Sangria with a 16-year-old student, sexually abusing her in his car, and offering her family a $20,000 “scholarship” to make the whole incident “go away.”

A girl at Clemente High School, pictured in the Tribune’s story, tattooed “Survive” on her arm as a directive or command to herself to keep going past the sexual abuse she says she endured. No criminal charges from police or disciplinary action from CPS resulted from her accusations.

“She just wanted to feel safe and focus on her classes,” the paper quoted Ashley Fretthold, one of the girl’s lawyers, as saying about an incident where she cut herself. “And yet, CPS’s response was to push back, question why, delay responding, and while sometimes they would eventually agree to some measures, they would not consistently implement them. They failed to recognize and respond to a traumatized student asking for support.”

The funds were earmarked for the conversion of neighborhood schools to district-wide magnet schools, although the charges have nothing specific to do with magnet programs. The federal government is in the process of reconsidering its enforcement of Title IX through the OCR, according to a speech delivered by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Still, the actual withholding of this much federal money based on a Title IX violation is unprecedented.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

MoCo doubles down on summer learning loss

Research is at least equivocal about summer learning loss, but maybe there's something to a new plan in Montgomery County, Md.

Downers North lights up the gym for Beth

Ongoing fundraising drives for a Downers Grove N. volleyball player killed by an intoxicated driver in Feb. are going strong in this western suburb.

High-payroll Yankees don’t make World Series

The World Series begins Tuesday, but some of the playoff games can teach us valuable things about youth sports, investment, etc.

Chicago teacher strike enters calendar week 2

Chicago teachers strike for the 3rd day Monday; the union wants smaller class sizes and support for paraprofessionals.

What happened after a coach disarmed a student

In Oregon last May, a high school coach saw a student carrying a gun and disarmed him. Now we know what happened next.

Fox Island disappears in the Chesapeake

An island that has provided some environmental education for many is being lost to rising sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay.

Ohio University hazing charges bring suspensions

The university is investigating hazing charges brought against several student organizations and social groups.

Vaping in a Md. high school

Clarksburg HS, like others in Montgomery County and across the nation, has a vaping problem among its students.

No Howard Co. juniors face required redistricting

Howard Co., Md., faces not only overcrowding but wide gaps in terms of socioeconomic status of families at its diverse schools.

Monkeys beat humans in cognitive flexibility

When we go about solving problems, we are sometimes so fixed in our ways that we fail to explore more efficient solution strategies.

Calif. law requires a sane start time for teens

A new law in Calif. will require public middle schools to start no earlier than 8:00 and high schools no earlier than 8:30.