Caulkins blames CPS scandal on lack of accountability for all involved -- including Springfield
Dan Caulkins points to the maddening sexual harassment scandal recently uncovered in the Chicago Public School system as a prime example of what happens when systems aren’t in place and accountability isn’t required.
“This falls to Mayor Rahm Emanuel; it falls to the city council and falls to people who run CPS and to some extent the lawmakers that keep enabling them,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “When you don’t fear any consequences for your actions, anything can happen. If there are no consequences, people are prone to misbehave. That’s the way we’ve allowed the Chicago Public System to operate for years and years.”
A special Chicago Tribune investigation found that numerous CPS students were sexually preyed upon by school district employees over a prolonged period after at least some of the workers were only submitted to minimal background checks.
“It’s hard to imagine, but this is even worse than what’s happening in Springfield with the #MeToo movement and (House Speaker Mike) Madigan’s inner circle because these are children,” said Caulkins, a Decatur Republican running against Democrat Jennifer McMillin for the seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) in the 101st District. “This is what happens when you allow an institution to police itself.”
In the case of CPS, Caulkins said that the scandal has its roots in the way public sector unions are allowed to influence political decisions in any way they see fit.
“It’s the same thing with CPS and the way all the money is poured into the pension systems,” he said. “CPS is allowed to show who's boss and the boss is beholden to paymaster. Everything is about protectionism for the members and everything becomes secondary.”
Caulkins said ultimately such a system breeds the same kind of abusive culture that is now plaguing Springfield, where at least four of Madigan’s close associates have recently been ensnared in an ongoing sexual assault scandal, including his second in command, state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie).
He added he stands in support of proposals like House Bill 5914 put forth by Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills), which would require the Illinois State Board of Education to “be aware of and monitor, the process of each individual background check” conducted by school districts and also make the act of an authority figure engaging in a sexual relationship with a student a criminal act, regardless of age, a step in the right direction.
“Maybe the pendulum is finally starting to swing, first in Springfield and now in CPS,” Caulkins added. “Maybe this time what’s right will be.”