Chicago/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on December 12, 2023
Chicago Public Schools Hit With Lawsuits Over Alleged Student Abuse by EducatorsSource: Google Street View

Chicago Public Schools is facing two disturbing lawsuits alleging abuse of students by educators within its system. One suit claims three boys were sexually abused by a gym teacher, Andrew Castro, at Federico Garcia Lorca Elementary School. The lawsuit alleges that the abuse, which began in 2018 when the victims were between 10 and 12, took place at the teacher's home and lasted for several years. Attorney Patrycja Karlin, representing the families, accused the school district of failing to intervene despite signs of the abuse, as reported by CBS News.

In a similarly egregious account, a lawsuit has surfaced involving the physical abuse of special needs students at Whistler Elementary School. A longtime CPS teacher is accused of hitting children with a wooden ruler and threatening them. Eight families have banded together in this legal action, revealing their children's suffering, which some claim included sexual abuse. Parents noticed behavioral changes and unexplained injuries, with one parent, Candace Bowen, lamenting that they had entrusted CPS with their child's safety, according to a statement obtained by ABC7 Chicago.

The case against Castro is particularly chilling, with allegations suggesting that he groomed the boys, secretly communicating with them and giving them gifts. The lawsuit further states that other staff members may have been aware of Castro's relationships with the students but did not report them. Castro was charged in June 2023 with predatory criminal sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a child and awaits trial in Cook County Jail.

In the Whistler Elementary case, evidence from video and audio recordings supports the claims of abuse, which attorney Victor Henderson suggests has been going on for many years. Desperate for justice and support for their children, these parents demand accountability from the officials who, they argue, failed to safeguard the most vulnerable. "I want the teacher who was involved to go to jail," one of the parents, Julie Hagan, told ABC7 Chicago. Both CBS News and ABC7 Chicago highlighted the negligence and the delayed response from CPS officials in addressing these complaints, which have now turned into a pair of harrowing legal battles for the Chicago Public Schools.

As these cases unravel, they cast an alarming shadow over the safety protocols and reporting systems within the Chicago Public Schools. Immediate relief was provided to the Whistler students after the alleged teacher's removal, but parents and advocates alike await a thorough investigation and proper accountability. CPS, meanwhile, has refrained from commenting on the litigation but declared that the district investigates all complaints and maintains students' welfare as a priority.