CPS to settle 2 special ed students’ sex assault lawsuits for $1.5M

The agreements come after the Board of Education approved a $1 million settlement last month in a similar complaint by a special education student at a North Side elementary school.

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Bogan Computer Technical High School, 3939 W. 79th St. in the Ashburn neighborhood on the Southwest Side, Monday afternoon, Feb. 7, 2022.

Bogan Computer Technical High School, 3939 W. 79th St., in the Ashburn neighborhood.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Chicago Public Schools officials are set to pay more than $1.5 million to settle two lawsuits by former special education students who said they were sexually assaulted by the same classmate at a Southwest Side high school.

The agreements come after the Board of Education approved a $1 million settlement last month in a similar complaint by a special education student at a North Side elementary school.

The school system aggressively fought all three complaints in court, taking one to trial and another to the verge of trial before agreeing to payouts.

In one of the two proposed settlements up for school board approval Wednesday, a boy’s family accused CPS of failing to properly supervise him when he was allegedly assaulted by a fellow special education student in 2016 inside a Bogan Computer Technical High School bathroom.

CPS hired private counsel to fight the case, with district attorneys calling the boy’s testimony “self-serving” and casting doubt as to whether an assault occurred. A trial judge had been assigned when CPS settled for $725,000, records show.

That family’s attorney, Carolyn Daley, represented another boy who was a special education student at Bogan and reported being sexually assaulted by the same alleged attacker a few months after the first boy. The family in that case also alleged CPS didn’t follow his Individualized Education Program — a document for each special education student that lays out their unique needs — by leaving him unsupervised in a bathroom. CPS settled that case for $850,000.

Daley said last month the two payouts were “a good resolution for my clients.”

“It gives them some closure and allows them to move forward, and more importantly they hope the board changes its policies and procedures so this doesn’t happen to another kid,” Daley said.

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