The Leaflet: Schools Are No Longer Safe for Students

Published June 14, 2018

Last week, the Chicago Tribune unveiled widespread child abuse in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Reporters obtained Chicago Police Department (CPD) data and found 523 cases of child assault occurred within CPS from 2008 to 2017.

The hundreds of child abuse cases were not just student-on-student attacks, which unfortunately are all too common in CPS, but also illegal and alarming interactions between school employees and students. Far too many CPS employees, who are supposed to be trusted authority figures, used their status to inflict physical and psychological pain on vulnerable students. 

Even more disturbing, school officials who were allegedly notified of potential abuse failed to take procedures to protect the student victims. The Tribune uncovered numerous teachers and principals who failed to report these cases to authorities, despite a state law that mandates they contact law enforcement immediately.

The tragic reports of rampant child abuse in CPS came soon after the Tennessean exposed similar wrongdoing in the Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). Shockingly, more than 600 cases of suspected child abuse in MNPS occurred during the 2017–18 school year. A lawsuit against MNPS documents more than 3,400 cases of inappropriate sexual behavior that resulted in disciplinary actions during a recent five-year period.

Although the Nashville and Chicago school districts have pledged to change their abuse reporting policy in the wake of these scandals, this still leaves many students in dangerous environments. Thankfully, The Heartland Institute has recently proposed Child Safety Accounts (CSAs) as a viable solution for school violence victims.

CSAs would allow bullied or abused students to transfer to a safer school. (The full brief on CSAs is available here.) Parents who fear for the physical or emotional well-being of their children could use the state funds in their CSA to pay for tuition at other public, private, or virtual schools. The funds could also be used for homeschooling expenses, tutoring, and educational therapies.  

Limited financial means and administrative inaction should never sentence children to more than a decade of being victimized in an unsafe school. CSAs would ensure that all students have the opportunity to avoid bullying and abuse, allowing them to focus in a safe learning environment.


What We’re Working On

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Energy & Environment
Fracking Is Not Adversely Affecting Air Quality in Colorado
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Health Care
How to Cure Pennsylvania’s Health Benefits Crisis
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Budget & Tax
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From Our Free-Market Friends
Colorado’s Proposed Pension Reform Is a Missed Opportunity
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