Feb 16, 2009

Child Abuse In Chicago Public Schools- A Travesty !

It seems like DC Public Schools isn't the only school system fraught with multiple problems. Based on a investigative report by CBS 2 - corporal punishment cases in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) aren't investigated in a timely manner. The findings of this CBS 2 investigation dating back to September 2008 suggests that even in the cases in which CPS staff were found guilty of corporal punishment, discipline did not match the offense. Many of the students involved were as young as kindergarten through middle school which is a scary thought. Treveon Martin, the 10-year-old Chicago Public School student who was featured in this investigative story expressed how fearful he is now of attending school.

On February 9th, 2009, CBS Reporter Dave Savini and his investigative team reported on an ongoing investigation of the use of corporal punishment in Chicago Public Schools. Savini's investigation revealed that hundreds of Chicago Public School students have alleged being battered (i.e. beaten, whipped, chocked, paddled) by a teacher or an aide, coach, security guard or a principal. In 568 of the 818 reported corporal punishment cases, Chicago Public School Investigators determined that students were telling the truth.

Treveon Martin was featured on CBS as one of 818 Chicago Public School students, since 2003, to allege being battered by a teacher or other staff member. "Treveon Martin, 10, is afraid of a teacher at his school. "I've seen him hit five of them in the classroom," Martin said. Martin says he and others have been hit, grabbed and even struck with a belt. "He's threatened almost all the kids in his classroom," Martin said. He says it happened at Robert Emmet Academy in November but a Chicago Public School investigator didn't talk to him until last week - 70 days after the case was reported, and not until after we started asking questions. "He holded my arms and he picked my body up, and then he just slammed me on the desk," Martin said.

CBS 2 investigators found reports of students who were beaten with broomsticks, whipped with belts, yard sticks, struck with staplers, choked, stomped on and pushed down stairs. A student was paddled by a coach after missing serves. A substitute teacher fractured a student's neck. The majority of cases of staff who were found guilty were only given a slap on the wrist, Savini said.

"CBS 2 informed former Chicago Public School CEO Arne Duncan of our investigative findings shortly before he was promoted to U.S. Secretary of Education. Duncan responded: "If someone hits a student, they are going to be fired. It's very, very simple. " Before heading to Washington, Duncan vowed to take the following action. "Any founded allegation where an adult is hitting a child, hitting a student - they're going to be gone," Duncan said. Savini reported that's not what happened under Duncan's watch.

In response to CBS 2's report- Chicago's Alderman Pat O'Connor who is on the City Council Education Committee promised to have all of the cases re-examined including Treveon Martin's case as well as the incoming Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman. Huberman also promised a further review of how these cases were investigated. (Story courtesy of CBS Broadcasting Inc.) Posted by The Washington Teacher.


Kids_First said...

Hitting is not the answer. My family lives in a low income rural area of Middle Tennessee and we have 3 school aged children. Our county schools allow Physical (Corporal) Punishment (Paddling with wooden boards) on Children in Schools. This is in direct conflict with the School's Zero Tolerance of Weapons Policy. Paddles are used to inflict physical pain and suffering intended to punish schoolchildren and takes place in the hallways within earshot of students in class without parental notification with legal impunity. We do not hit our children and feel that the learning environment is not safe, healthy or supportive to students who are subjected to overhearing and possibly witnessing paddlings in the hallways at school. The kids are told to "Bend over and grab your ankles" for such minor infractions as not turning in their homework. Hitting the students doesn't teach them why what they did was wrong, it doesn't teach them appropriate behavior and it doesn't teach them to respect the person doing the hitting. In fact, hitting children with weapons (wooden paddles) teaches children that physical assault/violence is the acceptable way for them to solve their problems and causes anger, distrust and resentment of authority figures. Over half, 29 states, of our great nation's state legislatures have Abolished Physical (Corporal) Punishment (Paddling) of Children in Schools making it illegal. Ohio's Governor Ted Strickland has proposed a ban on school paddling tied to education funding, if approved, Ohio will be the 30th state to ban this unacceptable practice. NOW is the time for President Obama, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Office For Civil Rights Secretary Russlynn Ali to exercise their authority to Establish and Enforce UNIFORM DISCIPLINE STANDARDS for use in ALL SCHOOLS in America that PROHIBIT the use of Weapons by school employees to deliberately inflict physical pain and suffering on schoolchildren as punishment, ensuring EQUAL CIVIL RIGHTS FOR SCHOOLCHILDREN IN THE 21ST CENTURY IMMEDIATELY! ALL CHILDREN deserve EQUAL EDUCATIONAL ACCESS TO SAFE, HEALTHY AND SUPPORTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS! The cost to eliminate teachers' and administrators' right to assault and batter schoolchildren is $0. Currently, in Decatur, GA at Potter Street Elementary school, a 9 year old boy suffered deep bruising from receiving paddling by the Assistant Principal 3 times in one day! NOT ONE MORE CHILD DESERVES TO BE LEGALLY ABUSED IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS! HANDS OFF OUR KIDS! WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND ALL WEAPONS THAT ARE GOVERNMENT PROPERTY IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS BE TAKEN AND DESTROYED IMMEDIATELY!

Anonymous said...

Back in my day they had fiber glass paddles with holes ! Butter bing,butter boom ! Principle would walk out in hall way holding it too ! Never ended up with it on my behind but the stories from the ones that did, we're enlightening ! We have a school in Texas and the teacher's are packing pistols.

Todd Seyler said...

School should not only be a place of learning and developing social, physical and cognitive skills, school should also be a safe haven for children to enjoy their experience. Corporal punishment of any severity strips a child of their protection. As a child who grew up in a physically abusive home, my only escape from the terror within the confines of the house i grew up in was school. If I was additionally beat at school, then what? Being beaten at home was traumatic enough. Further beatings at school would have been to much to bare. Think about that legislators. You need to not only provide education for these kids, but protection as well.


The Washington Teacher said...

Like or not child abuse laws are here to say. I understand that all adults can be pushed to the edge as educators as well as parents. When teachers are feeling that way... you immediately should ask for help from colleagues and administrators (that you trust, and take some deep breaths until you get some relief.

A First Grade Teacher said...

I teach in a DCPS school. I was out sick yesterday and the sub beat one of my students. she actually dragged the boy (a first grader) into the bathroom and whipped him. The entire class heard it. His mother came in this morning and told me what happened. We went to the office to report it. I later found out that three adults in my building knew about it yesterday and didn't say anything. The sub has been fired, but the parent now wants to sue and wants the other adults who did not report it fired. I can't really blame her, because i would be enraged as well if something like this happened to my child. And, I know all school employees sign CPS forms stating that we are required to report any suspected abuse. So, she may have a good case.

Anonymous said...

I worked in a NJ elementary school until JUne 2009.I was a para in a 3yr old nursery class.I was switched to K when the aide reported the teacher for having made her rub spit in a boys face!
Enter me....I report this old woman for abuse all year long...there were many witness and these 5 yr olds couldn't talk(autistic). Then guess who got let go in JUNE.This woman dragged kids around the room by their ankles......stood the ones she couldn't stand on their heads while holding their feet, constantly picked on the same few boys,instigated them to behave badly...took ones kids Valentine candy and shook his cards and goodies above the trash saying you will do as I say! and guess what folks...she is still teaching and I who reported her over and over and over again.....was not rehired! Whats wrong with this picture.I just hired an attorney!