A teacher asked how many condoms a student would need. In violation of district rules, a member of the board of governors repeatedly ate meals and went on walks with students. Students were text messages by military personnel. They later denied that they did so, and phone records have been shown to prove otherwise.
Other adults in power also failed to report misconduct, or, as in the case with a top military school official, believed that the allegations were not true. [his] concern.
This is according to the Chicago Public Schools Inspector General’s latest report. It details dozens of allegations against Marine Leadership Academy, a Logan Square school for 7-12 year olds.
Officials revealed that 13 school employees had been accused of sexual misconduct or covering it up. All were fired or in the process to be dismissed. Erin Galfer was the former principal and had been promoted to a post in the central office.
When asked about Galfers promotion, Pedro Martinez, CPS CEO and Title IX director Camiepratt were both questioned. They said that district officials didn’t know the extent of the investigation until last month. Inspector General Will Fletcher refuted this claim. A WBEZ/Sun-Times Report showed that the district knew about the allegations at the school for many years.
Fletchers office released its most recent investigative findings Thursday. The summary report stated that Marine Leadership Academy school administrators fostered a dysfunctional, divisive environment where staff, including military personnel, didn’t feel the need for reporting wrongdoing.
Although these latest incidents of misconduct were not sexual in nature, they violated the district policies that were established two years ago to protect students against contact with adult sexual predators.
One case was that of a school board member volunteering as a student mentor. However, he was denied further work at the school because of allegations that he had multiple one-on one interactions with students outside the school. These interactions included texting, calling and taking students out for meals and walking with them. Initial allegations suggested that the board member was grooming children for sex. However, he was never charged with sexual abuse and the investigation did not prove any grooming.
Galfer did not conduct background checks or fingerprinting on the board member in question, but the case was still troubling.
The report concluded that it was concerning that a volunteer was allowed to have so much access students without having done a background check. Galfer was the first to report potential grooming by the board members, but she didn’t report any other violations. A counselor also failed to report texting, the IGs said.
Galfer was a contributor to a dysfunctional and divisive atmosphere, which had a role in whether MLA employees reported violations CPS policies at all or how the reporting was handled.
Galfers attorney did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
Other misconduct revealed in Thursday’s report included a teacher’s comment about students using condoms and several staff members texting students.
Notably, investigators also found issues in the retirement of uniformed marines as military instructors at MLA. They also found failures by CPS military educators leaders to supervise these military instructors.
The IGs office discovered that a majority of inappropriate communications between staff members and students were caused by military staff. However, military staff refused to communicate with students via text or telephone until they were presented with phone records.
The IGs office interviewed CPS director of military instruction and he stated that it was not [his]The report stated that it was business to investigate why military personnel at the schools were fired. When asked why he did not ask for updates on the investigation he replied that the allegations were not true. [his] concern.
The CPS’s current director of military instruction did not respond to a request for comments.
Mary Fergus, a CPS spokesperson, stated that one of the 13 adults involved has been removed, one employee has resigned and seven others are currently being fired. Four other employees are in the disciplinary process. She also said that one additional employee, who was not part of the original group in the last month’s report, has been fired.
Fergus stated that CPS will not tolerate abusers or perpetrators in inappropriate relationships. It will also not tolerate complicit non-reporters who do little to stop such behavior. We are grateful for the hard work of the Office of the Inspector General and their thorough investigation.