Painful Lessons: New Schools Chief Promises Action
Chicago (CBS), February 26, 2009

With a new schools chief in Chicago there's a promise of big changes in the way allegations of abuse are being handled.

CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini first exposed the problem of Chicago public school students being beaten by teachers and coaches in his ongoing series, Painful Lessons. And Thursday, new Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman was brought before a City Council hearing to explain what he's going to do to stop the illegal use of corporal punishment and other abuses inflicted upon students in their classrooms.

"If there is physical injury to the child, anything visible, the police must be called," Huberman, a former police officer, said.

Huberman is cracking down on teachers and staff members who touch, hit, or abuse students. Paddles and baseball bats were uncovered by the 2 Investigators, along with security video of players hit during practices. We also found that students were hit with objects like broomsticks, belts, yardsticks and staplers.

"We will take very direct action against anyone who uses those means," Huberman said.

His answer to the problem is faster and more timely investigations after abuses are reported and a new rule to require that school investigators double check that the Department of Children and Family Services is immediately notified about cases.

Cases like 10-year-old Treveon Martin's are the reasons the new rules are being considered.

Treveon's case ended up being classified as unfounded, but his mother alleged DCFS never talked to them and no one asked for hospital records showing a contusion on his back after Treveon was allegedly thrown onto a chair by a teacher at Emmett Elementary. It also took 70 days before he was finally interviewed by a Chicago Public Schools investigator.

Huberman is re-examining Treveon's case and is reviewing the 818 other cases that the 2 Investigators uncovered since 2003 of kids alleging inappropriate contact by a teacher, an aide, coach, security guard or even a principal. Huberman now says his review found more than half the allegations -- 418 of them -- resulted in a finding of wrongdoing by staff.

"It's clearlybubbled up as very problematic." reverend albert tyson 8:23

"i would like parents to ask their children if they were abused."

Rev. Albert Tyson represents ministers from 200 churches encouraging Huberman to dig deeper into this issue.

"I would like parents to ask their children if they were abused," Tyson said. "I had no idea that it was occurring and certainly no idea that it was occurring on the scope that it is occurring." "Anytime you see a kid hurt in any way it is terribly troubling,"

Huberman told CBS 2. Huberman corrected earlier numbers released by the board which stated only 24 people were fired out of the hundreds of founded cases.

He now says there were actually 114 people fired and 58 resignations. That still means less than half of the people found guilty of wrongdoing lost their jobs. He also wants more investigators and possibly social workers to be in the rooms with students when they give statements about the abuse.

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