Author Heidi Stevens Chicago Tribune

Every time I write about Chicago Public Schools, I spend the next few days fielding emails telling me I should move.

On Thursday, I wrote a column asking CPS for more transparency about the sexual violence uncovered in a series of stories by my Tribune colleagues.

In the wake of the series, which revealed a decade of sexual abuse in the city’s public schools, the district promised to implement a public awareness campaign, according to the plan of action page on the CPS website. The campaign would encourage students, employees, families and the public to report suspected abuse, and it would educate us about appropriate relationships and interactions between students and adults.

As a CPS parent, I’m still waiting. I’m waiting for the robocalls and emails and tweets and letters home and invitations to town halls.

I’m waiting for CPS to start focusing less on damage control and more on damage. I’m tired of waiting.

I said as much in the column.

“If your worried about your children’s safety common sense should tell you to move,” a reader named Bill emailed. “Enrolling your children in a Chicago public school is a form of child abuse. You can do better.”

Several others echoed his sentiments.

I want to spend a few minutes talking about why I disagree.

Not because CPS has, year-after-year, many of the top-performing schools in the state and, on occasion, the country. Although that’s true.

Not because I’ve come to know and respect and adore so many of the CPS students and parents and teachers and social workers and art therapists and coaches and volunteers, and the idea that they’re partaking in child abuse is patently ridiculous. Although that’s also true.

Not because my kids have been in CPS schools since kindergarten (for one) and preschool (for the other) and are receiving a fantastic education, socially, academically and in every other way. Although that’s also true.

Here’s why:

Because it’s a way of quickly looking for a villain (those terrible parents!) and then waving away a deeply entrenched social problem (sexual violence) as not your problem. (I’d never let that happen to my kid!)

Because violence against children happens everywhere. In every town.

I’m waiting for CPS to start focusing less on damage control and more on damage. I’m tired of waiting.

I said as much in the column.

“If your worried about your children’s safety common sense should tell you to move,” a reader named Bill emailed. “Enrolling your children in a Chicago public school is a form of child abuse. You can do better.”

Several others echoed his sentiments.

I want to spend a few minutes talking about why I disagree.

Not because CPS has, year-after-year, many of the top-performing schools in the state and, on occasion, the country. Although that’s true.

Not because I’ve come to know and respect and adore so many of the CPS students and parents and teachers and social workers and art therapists and coaches and volunteers, and the idea that they’re partaking in child abuse is patently ridiculous. Although that’s also true.

Not because my kids have been in CPS schools since kindergarten (for one) and preschool (for the other) and are receiving a fantastic education, socially, academically and in every other way. Although that’s also true.

Here’s why:

Because it’s a way of quickly looking for a villain (those terrible parents!) and then waving away a deeply entrenched social problem (sexual violence) as not your problem. (I’d never let that happen to my kid!)

Because violence against children happens everywhere. In every town.

Read more in the Chicago Tribune

 

Maternal Home Visiting Campaign Page

Advertisements

Comments

comments

One Child Is Too Many

Join our mailing list to receive a weekly update of the top stories.

Thank you. You have successfully subscribed

Pin It on Pinterest

Help Spread The Word

Please share this post with your friends!

Shares
%d bloggers like this: