CPS launches new department in response to sex abuse allegations

CHICAGO -- Chicago Public School officials are taking action to prevent abuse following recent allegations of sex abuse at some of its schools.

CEO Janice Jackson announced Wednesday that CPS is launching an “Office of Student Protections and Title IX" -- an unprecedented long-term commitment to ensure learning environments are free from sexual violence, harassment and discrimination.

The new 20-member department, which will be formed this summer, "will have a mandate to advocate for students and coordinate the district’s response to any allegation of abuse."

According to CPS, the Office of Student Protections and Title IX "will be responsible for referring allegations of adult-on-student abuse to the Office of the Inspector General for investigation, overseeing investigations into allegations of student-on-student abuse, ensuring students are paired with an advocate immediately following an allegation, and providing students with resources for receiving long-term support."

“Chicago’s students deserve a school district that will fully protect them and advocate for their best interest at all times, which is why we are creating a robust new team to support students that is more comprehensive than anything else in the country,” said CPS CEO Janice Jackson.

The announcement comes after a Chicago Tribune report disclosed wide spread abuse at schools across the district.

Earlier this week, CPS announced two principals were removed for failing to safeguard students at their schools.

Officials relieved Sheldon House of his duties at Simeon Career Academy, where an unnamed school volunteer was accused of sexual abuse. Investigators said the allegation arose during an audit of the school's background check process.

Armando Rodriguez of Goode STEM Academy was reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation. A teacher at the school was accused of sexual abuse.

CPS said a district investigation found that they did not effectively safeguard their students.