Tuesday, July 24, 2018

How to Make a School Disappear, Along With Student Records, Police Responses, and Staff Misconduct

Chicago, IL
Chicago-One News Staff
From roughly the 1970s through the 1980s, even to 1995 or beyond, students with diverse learning needs were shipped from Chicago Public Schools to non-public schools where former students allege abuse of various kinds took place.
Former students tell stories of these non-public schools allowing physical, verbal & emotional abuse, even sexual abuse by other students. Some who have spoken-up under condition of anonymity, say even the "teachers" and "staff" of these schools were the alleged offenders, and other adults who knew about these instances turned their heads due to fear of their own safety, and fear for loss of their jobs.
"Teachers" and "staff" in these non-public specialized schools are not, and never were in the Chicago Teacher's Union, although these non-public specialized schools were funded by taxpayer dollars.
ISBE was contacted, and it turns out that non-public schools who educate children with diverse learning needs, or otherwise provide services to children with diverse learning needs who are placed in non-public schools by way of the Chicago Public School District are not required to be state licensed, and any registration for what is termed by ISBE as "recognition" with ISBE is voluntary.
Although ISBE has standards for those non-public schools whom they allow to register with ISBE, it appears as if the non-public school would keep their own records. The Chicago Public Schools Office of Diverse Learner Services keeps student records which are protected by state and federal law as highly confidential, but that office has no legal state or federal mandate to keep records of these non-public diverse learner schools.
These non-public diverse learner schools are allowed to hire anyone they want to teach and perform other staff functions with no state or federal oversight, no requirement for their teachers and staff to obtain state or local school district licensing. They perform their own background checks, which are noted to be hit or miss.
There is no state or federal requirement for adults working with vulnerable children in non-public diverse learner schools to face any kind of rigourous screening.
This creates a loophole that create dangers here.
1. There is no requirement in Illinois that ISBE OR DCFS inspect these schools, or routinely check for child abuse or neglect
2. The point number 1 above creates is this: Chicago's and Illinois' most vulnerable children HAVE faced abuse and neglect in these non-public, non-regulated schools for decades and the abusers often just resign or are terminated, and hop from non-public school to non-public school where they hide rather easily from their past
3. It appears that these non-public, non-regulated schools and their personnel might not be subject to Illinois or federal mandatory reporter laws since they're not a public entity
4. There is no state law requiring ISBE to investigate abuse / neglect in non-public special education schools, and neither DCFS, or these non-public special education schools are required by law to make their abuse and neglect investigation records a public record identifying the accused person.
Number 4 above allows the alleged abuser to go undetected without any way for the victims to have recourse, or potential education employers to be aware of the past conduct of non-public special ed teachers or "staff members"
At this point, the surface appearance is that the system was designed to lose special ed kids in the system, having the effect of "dumping" them somewhere and doing so without any checks and balances to ensure the well-being of these kids. The State regulation website, "Innovation.ed.gov" shows the Illinois statutes involved that create the above mentioned safety risks.
Those people lnow have no voice to pursue justice for their victimization because there are literally no records of these teachers or staff members if / when these non-public special ed facilities shut down as many non-public schools have.
One such school allegedly had issues with student on student abuse of sorts, and staff on student abuse / violence on Chicago's near west side. One anonymous former student states that they had witnessed riots or near-riots, beatings, physical and sexual abuse by a particular adult school staff member, and says the school even experienced a shooting incident in 1994, just blocks from the school, allegedly not the school's first experience with nearly fatal results due to violence.
That shooting is said to have wounded one high school student who attended that school. The motive for the shooting was rumored to be the student's refusal to join a gang. Chicago Police were said to have taken one or more suspects into custody.
The school was mentioned in the Chicago-One News feature on the inability of DCFS to track hotline calls by address.
Chicago-One performed public records requests with the ISBE, Chicago Police, and Chicago OEMC (Office of Emergency Management and Communications) after verifying that acts of violence indeed occurred at the school, located at 1135 N. Cleaver st.
According to ISBE, there were issues with their ability to retain records on the school due to a conflict between the school's closing date, and the date ISBE started keeping electronic records. ISBE referred Chicago-One to the state's online teacher licensing search portal.
The Chicago Police responded with a statement that they had no calls for responses to the school between January 1st, 1986 and June 30th of 1997, which is in conflict to eyewitness accounts of events alleged to have occurred there. Chicago Police acknowledged a call history to that address over the last 18 years between the year 2000 and 2018.
The request for further emergency response data to that address filed with Chicago OEMC revealed that they only retain call data for four years, which will explain the FOIA response of the Chicago Police Department.
There are other sets of difficulties students face when these non-public schools shut down....the inability of colleges, universities, and / or possible employers to verify their high school background. Many of these non-public schools and the Chicago Public School District issue these children diplomas that identify them as being diverse learners who attended a specialized school, and that triggers problems finding employment in the public AND private sectors due to negative stereotyping / discrimination.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Crisis in Chicago - Mental Health Emergencies in Chicago, Part 1

July 12th, 2018
Chicago, Il

Since 2016, Chicago-One News has been investigating the bigger picture of Chicago's mental health. This morning, some numbers are showing what Chicago residents and visitors can't see with their own eyes.

A freedom of information act request to the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications has revealed that the number of calls to 911 for psychiatric emergencies from January 1st of 2016, through May 31st of 2018 totals 80,411

Just days ago, on-duty Chicago Police Officer Brandon Krueger, used his service weapon to commit suicide in his squad car at the 5th district station located at 727 E. 111th. Officer Krueger was a tactical officer assigned to CPD's Organized Crime Unit, and had only been with the department for five years. Officer Krueger was 36 years old, and left behind two children. Krueger's suicide is listed at the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office as case# ME2018-03194.

2017 was the city's worst year out of the requested dataset, with 34,581 calls for psychiatric emergencies. Though the first half of this year has 14,919 calls for psychiatric emergencies, and we are in July, there are 5 more months in the year before we know the total tally in this category for 2018.

It is important to note these stats are not inclusive of psychiatric emergencies discovered by police and EMS units in the field, and are also not inclusive of psychiatric emergencies where city emergency responders are not involved such as in the case of private transport of some kind, or self-transport to the hospital by some means (walking, biking, taxi, public transit)

When those stats are taken into account, we can reasonably assume that the number of psychiatric emergencies in each year are much higher. If we adjust for those psychiatric emergencies that end in suicide, the number jumps even higher. A cursory look at the Cook County Medical Examiner's public dataset using the option to view only suicide cases reveals a great deal of suicides when we look only at those that occur inside the boundaries of the City of Chicago.

The violence rates in Chicago are further reflective of the mental health crisis in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune has been tracking this year's murder statistics, and the number of people killed in Chicago from January 1st 2018, through July 8th, 2018, stands at 252.

Chicago-One News is only counting murders, not homicides. Homicide is a legal term, and not all homicides are murders. All murders ARE homicides, however. Homicide means death by the hands of another human being, some of which are counted as legally justified by way of self-defense. Some homicides are accidental and also don't always meet the criteria for murder or manslaughter.

This year alone, 1,485 people have been shot in Chicago. There have been 1,249 wounded out of those 1,485 people shot. (Source: Chicago Police Data)

In 2017, there were 357 murders in Chicago. During 2016, there were 762 murders, 3,550 shooting incidents, and out of those incidents, 4,331 people were shot.(Source: Chicago Police Data)

How can the number of shooting victims exceed the number of shooting incidents? Because bullets ricochet and hit unintended victims, and even when an intended victim is hit, the bullets don't always stop when they hit the victim.

The mental health crisis now expands beyond just the shooting victims regardless of whether the victim lives or dies, because we must account for witnesses to the shooting incidents and those who are close to the victims. There are no statictics regarding how many of these individuals experience psychological and / or psychiatric trauma and refuse to seek help.

Chicago-One has obtained the police and fire/EMS dispatch policies and protocol from the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications through a Freedom of Information Act Request. Chicago-One will have more for you in a later piece that will examine what a psychiatric response in Chicago looks like from the time a 911 call is made.

Chicago Police Apprehend Suspect in Police Chase on Roosevelt Road That Resulted in Traffic Collision

In the 500 Block of West Roosevelt Road on July 10, 2018 at approximately 1:35 p.m. Deward Shines  35 years old, was driving a 2005 Chrysler 300. 

Shines evaded police that were attempting to stop the vehicle. Shines was driving westbound on Roosevelt at a high rate of speed and disregarded a red light at the intersection of Roosevelt/Clinton, striking a 2017 Hyundai Sonata that was travelling south bound. 

Shines fled on foot but was apprehended a short distance later. He was placed into custody and taken to the University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital.

Chicago-One News was following this incident by way of Chicago Police radio traffic and Twitter reports of credible listeners, such as Chicago Tribune's Peter Nickeas, who tweeted that Shines was apprehended behind the uniform shop at Clinton and Roosevelt. The shop sells public safety and CTA / RTA / PACE uniforms.

The driver of the Hyundai, a 55 year old woman, was transported to the University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital with minor injuries.

Deward Shines was charged with Aggravated Fleeing Police/ 21 mph over/2nd, Poss Cannabis/500<2,000 Grams, Not Wearing Seat Belt/Driver, Limit On Overtaking On The Left, Disobey Red Circular Steady Signal Signal Stop, Leaving The Scene, Driving On Revoked License, Operate Motor Vehicle Without Insurance, and Flee/Attempt Elude Police. He appeared in court on July 11, 2018 at 2600 South California.

All information for this story was gathered from the Chicago Police Department Media Relations Section.