Weekly News Brief 8/19 - 8/26 Ohio AG Mike DeWine files to recover millions | Education Secretary Considers Using Federal Funds to Arm Schools

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Report: Chicago Public Schools 'failed to recognize' extent of systemwide sexual abuse problem – By Juan Perez Jr. and David Jackson, The Chicago Tribune

Broad failures at all levels of Chicago Public Schools kept officials from preventing and responding to sexual abuse suffered by students in the nation’s third-largest school system, according to a prominent law firm’s early review of problems documented this summer in a Tribune investigation.

The report by the law firm Schiff Hardin identified repeated “systemic deficiencies” in training, incident reporting, data collection and trend tracking that pervaded city schools, the system’s downtown headquarters and a school board controlled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The school system has “struggled to implement” a state law that requires CPS to notify Illinois authorities when employees are dismissed or resign from their posts while under suspicion of child abuse or neglect, Hickey’s report said. The district said it notified the state last month that more than 100 former CPS employees were fired or allowed to resign since 2016 amid abuse or neglect allegations.

The report identified several issues at the heart of the district’s culture as aggravating CPS’ inadequate response to sexual abuse and misconduct.


Utah lawmaker proposes putting a team in every school to catch red flags – By John Hollenhurst, Deseret News

In the aftermath of the Valentine's Day shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, the Utah Legislature established a special commission to explore the issues of school safety.

It quickly learned a tragic common denominator of school massacres: People typically look back after the fact and realize there were warning signs that everyone missed — or didn't take seriously.

Now, with a push from the Utah Safe Schools Commission, Utah is moving toward a mental health approach that's designed to catch those red flags and do something about them before a tragedy takes place.

Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, is carrying the commission recommendation into the next session of the Legislature.

"I would say the most important recommendation," Ward said, "was what are called threat assessment teams. Or we could call them mental health teams."

His bill will require those teams in every school. It would also provide funding for more mental health professionals in schools.


Ohio AG Mike DeWine files to recover millions from ECOT founder William Lager and others – By Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today launched his formal attempt to recover about $60 million in overpayments to the ECOT online charter school, from its founder William Lager, from companies owned by Lager and from several former officials of the now-closed school.

At the center of the case are two companies Lager founded and owns that did about $200 million in business with the school over the years, Altair Learning Management and IQ Innovations. 

The filing argues that Lager was an officer and agent of ECOT, so it was illegal for the school to hire companies he owns. Because that would be a conflict of interest, the filing asks that "Lager be ordered to disgorge all profits he received from the Altair License Agreements and the IQ Contracts."

Damages could be tripled if the state proves Lager violated the corrupt practices act, best known for civil action against organized crime.