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Skinner West teacher removed over claim of ‘inappropriate contact’ with students

Mark T. Skinner Elementary, 1260 W. Adams St. | Sun-Times file photo

A teacher at a top-rated West Loop elementary school has been removed as district officials investigate an allegation that the staffer had “inappropriate contact with students.”

Skinner West Principal Deborah Clark notified families of the teacher’s removal in a letter on Tuesday.

“Please know that we are taking this situation seriously, and we remain committed to providing our students with a safe, positive leaning environment where they can reach their full potential,” Clark wrote.

The teacher’s name and specifics of the allegation — or the number of students who might have been affected — weren’t released. Chicago Public Schools officials referred to Clark’s letter.

CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler’s office is investigating the complaint, as it does all potential misconduct cases involving district employees.

The removal adds to the list of 76 adults yanked from CPS classrooms as of April 23, according to Schuler’s office. That figure included 34 teachers, 13 security guards, four bus drivers or aides and three deans pulled pending investigations of alleged behavior ranging from generally “creepy” behavior to sex abuse.

Additionally, more than 2,000 complaints have been filed since the start of this school year with the district’s new Office of Student Protections, which was formed last year in the wake of revelations that CPS officials mishandled years’ worth of misconduct complaints. That office handles student-on-student cases.

More than 1,200 students are enrolled at Skinner West, 1260 W. Adams St. It holds the district’s highest quality rating, and seats in its rigorous classical program are highly coveted in the booming Near West Side neighborhood.

Clark noted resources for CPS students to report sexual harassment and abuse: the inspector general’s office at (833) TELL-CPS, and the Office of Student Protections, (773) 535-4400.