Report: Chicago Public Schools Employees Stole Thousands from Special Needs Student Funds

FRANCE : PRIMARY SCHOOL CLASS Reportage in Les Hélices Vertes primary school in Cerny, France. Year 5, year 6 multi-level class. AMELIE-BENOIST / BSIP
AMELIE-BENOIST / BSIP/AFP

Chicago Public Schools employees reportedly stole thousands of dollars in school-funded gift cards meant to be used as incentives for special needs students, according to a report from the school district’s inspector general.

The inspector general’s report noted that teachers and administrators pilfered the gift cards even though the cards were donated to help students “address their specialized needs,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

In one instance, the principal of a school for at-risk students took $500 worth of gift cards and 30 new backpacks filled with school supplies. The backpacks reportedly went to an acquaintance instead of the needy students they were intended to help.

An elementary school principal used “at least $22,000 in school funds for personal purchases at Costco and Apple stores,” while another principal used school funds on a “teacher’s lunch club” where educators would dine on lobster, steak, and shrimp, the report states.

Of the $250,000 worth of gift cards set aside for students, $10,200 were used to purchase wedding favors, restaurant meals, a trip to an Iowa casino, and other “personal purchases,” according to the report.

The teachers and administrators were not the only ones in the Chicago school system who committed wrongdoing.

Parents, desperate to get their kids out of failing neighborhood schools, allegedly used fake addresses to get into the district’s lottery program that would enable their children to enroll in selective magnet schools.

Unfortunately, Chicago Public Schools has a history of corruption and teachers mistreating special needs students.

In 2015, a Chicago Public Schools teacher forced an epileptic child to wear a trash bag, and a former head of the school system pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

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