CPS removes 2 principals amid sexual abuse investigations

SHARE CPS removes 2 principals amid sexual abuse investigations

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson holds a press conference on sexual violence in the district, at CPS headquarters, on Tuesday June 5, 2018. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools announced Monday that it has removed principals of two schools as the district investigates claims of sexual abuse against students.

Simeon High School principal Dr. Sheldon House and Goode STEM Academy principal Armando Rodriguez were both relieved of their duties Monday, according to CPS.

“Every adult who serves in our district has a responsibility to protect students from harm, and CPS is committed to holding staff members accountable when they fail to uphold that duty,” CPS CEO Janice Jackson said in a statement.

“As a result of district-led investigations into allegations of sexual abuse, two CPS principals were removed from their positions today due to initial findings that suggest they did not effectively safeguard their students,” she added.

Both investigations remain ongoing.

CPS has tapped retired former principal Patricia Woodson to serve as interim principal at Simeon. David Gilligan, another retired former principal, will head Goode. Both will serve until the local school councils select a full-time principal at each school.

Several weeks ago, a CPS audit found “systemic issues” with background checks performed on volunteer athletic coaches at Simeon.

During that audit, CPS became aware of a new allegation of sexual abuse by a volunteer. That allegation “was not handled in accordance with CPS policy,” according to the district.

In 2016, a former Simeon student sued after they alleged they were groped by a track coach.

Earlier this month, CPS removed a teacher from Goode after an allegation of possible sexual abuse of a student was made.

Last week, CPS said employees will undergo additional background checks, adults will be restricted from having any access to students if sexual abuse is alleged and employees will undergo retraining on reporting abuse and inappropriate boundaries between staff and students.

Earlier this month, a Chicago Tribune investigation uncovered a decade of mishandling cases of sexual abuse by the school district.

The Latest
The holiday honors the day in 1865 when the last enslaved African Americans learned they had been freed — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth was made a state and federal holiday in 2021.
Lee catches Garrett Crochet in his third game of Mariners series behind the plate.
Morgan Stanley employees join Kaboom! staffers in creating a safe playspace at the Mitzi Freidheim Child & Family Center. ‘Being able to wave to the kids and seeing the excitement on their faces has been just amazing,’ one volunteer said.
This piece, based on Khaled Hosseini’s novel, is quite modest, but modesty — the focus on the central character’s interior journey, the clarity of the relationships, the novel’s language, the spare rather than the spectacular — has its own beguiling charms.
The growth on state exams was led by Black students, CPS officials said. But preliminary math scores on state exams show students still lag behind.