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A message from CTU President Jesse Sharkey to CTU rank and file members:

I received a phone call at 7 a.m. today from CPS CEO Pedro Martinez about the pending release of a deeply disturbing report of grooming, sexual abuse and cover up at Marine Leadership Academy.

As we said in a statement this morning: Our union has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. Nothing is more important than the trust of our children, and nothing is more reprehensible than the violation of that trust. Students deserve safety above all else.

Our students and school communities are reeling this year — from the ongoing pandemic, from gun violence, and from the inequities that both of these conditions have made worse. Today’s news only strengthens our commitment to demand better for you and your students, especially in matters of student safety.

Mayor Lightfoot must protect our children and shield them from harm. The mayor must also make her district responsible for all facets of student safety. We cannot continue to have such an alarming lack of attention, and lack of action, in protecting children.

We must also continue to push back against cultures of fear and intimidation from administrators in our schools.

Later in the day, the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial came in. I am dismayed, but not surprised. For too long, our criminal system has been unbalanced, inequitable and inadequate when it comes to how people of color are treated compared to others.

Regardless of race, no one deserves to live in fear. Today’s decision is evidence of much work left to be done to reach this goal, but our union is no stranger to this work. So our fight continues.

In safety and solidarity,
Jesse Sharkey
CTU President