There will be more to this story but what we already know is very disturbing.
The Chicago Public Schools inspector general reports that 13 adults at the Marine Leadership Academy in Logan Square committed or covered up child sexual abuse against students or former students dating back more than two years.
CPS CEO Pedro Martinez, only on the job for a month, said in a news conference that he found out about the investigation late last month.
He also said other central office officials did not previously know the widespread nature of the allegations.
The IG disputed how long central office has known about it.
Others on social media have posted memos showing the the CPS law department knew about problems of sexual misconduct at the Marine Academy for a long time.
The Marine Academy was planted in Logan Square over the objections of parents and neighbors.
Alderman Roberto Maldonado and Mayor Rahm Emanuel were insistent on turning our neighborhood’s Ames Middle School into a city-wide military school back in 2014.
When I saw the new CPS CEO on TV at a news conference about the sex abuse scandal now unfolding at the Marine Academy the first thing I thought of was what happened to our local neighborhood middle school six years ago.
Closing Ames Middle School and turning into a military academy was, as best as I remember, the idea of 26th Ward alder Roberto Maldonado.
Ames parents objected but were ignored.
Ames was a relatively new school. It opened in 1998 when neighborhood parents protested to then Mayor Daley that our existing neighborhood schools were overcrowded.
A local referendum in the precincts surrounding Ames was held and the result was overwhelming in support of leaving Ames as a non-militarized neighborhood school.
Parents and local community organizations like the Logan Square Neighborhood Association protested closing Ames.
Yet Mayor Rahm and Alder Maldonado persisted.
I’m not suggesting that if we still had Ames Middle School and the Marine Academy had not been foisted on the neighborhood there would be no sexual scandal today.
The issues are more complicated than that.
But somebody has to explain to me why years are needed to investigate complaints of sexual abuse at the Marine Academy.
I’m thinking that CPS can’t be relied upon to investigate themselves. I keep thinking of the Catholic Church investigating its own priests. That didn’t work out well either.
This is about ignoring or covering up sexual abuse at a military academy that our neighborhood didn’t need or want in the first place.
Tell me these things aren’t connected.