CPS Cameras Do Not Protect Students or Teachers... Teachers ask why parking lots and vehicles are not patrolled and protected

In the spirit of high tech video surveillance, Chicago Public Schools recently announced an “enhanced” electronic security system that would place scores of security cameras at 14 high schools for the new school year. This new high tech system, which CPS says will cost $7 million at a time of a so-called record deficit that mandates firing over 1,000 teachers, was piloted at Fenger High School, where the press release claimed crime dropped by 67 percent.

It’s all about protecting the students and providing a safe environment, the Board of Education spokesmen proudly proclaim.

Don’t believe it, says Holmes Elementary School teacher and delegate Daisy Sharp, who filed a breach of security grievance against CPS.

“According to contractual agreement set down by the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Public Schools, we (the teachers and all other employees working at a Chicago Public School campus) are entitled to be protected and to insure our personal property is protected as well,” Sharp wrote in a detailed brief that was forwarded to the CPS grievance department and the Chicago Teachers Union on Aug. 6, 2010.

“Article 44-9 page 103 says teachers or other bargaining unit members shall work under safe and healthful conditions. If when having to walk to and from our vehicles becomes unsafe, we (the employees) have a right to address these concerns and to have the Chicago Teachers Union demand that Chicago Public Schools rectify the problems.”

The grievance, entitled “Welfare of the Staff and Students of O. W. Holmes School,” further states:

“Since then complaints of vandalism have occurred on the parking lot of O.W. Holmes’ campus. Over the course of approximately one year, massive renovations have taken place at O.W. Holmes and several cameras have been installed in the “new” lunchroom. However, of these tens of thousands of dollars that have been spent on the renovation of O.W. Holmes School, not one dime has been allocated to the installation of cameras on the teachers’ parking lot to insure safety for the staff and to deter the costly expenses due to vandalism that occurs to our personal property (vehicles).

“We (the employees) are not monetarily compensated for any damage to our vehicles, nor for any monetary deductibles set down by our personal insurance companies.

“The vandalism is as blatant as using wire cutters to steal spare tires from under a vehicle! Could you please tell me just how long does it take to commit such a crime? And this is done without anyone witnessing anything! Could you imagine what could happen to a person in that same amount of time, in the same confined area…And please, with that thought, include those students whom we are supposed to be protecting!”

Sharp wrote further that one teacher’s car was later stolen by students in the school’s parking lot where no security cameras were installed. The students had entered the classroom without permission, and stole the keys from the teacher’s coat pocket, Sharp wrote.

“This theft ultimately ended with the teacher’s car being totaled. These students could have injured someone seriously or killed someone, if not themselves!”

CPS has not responded to the grievance, according to Sharp.

“We’re still waiting,” Sharp told Substancenews. “In fact, it’s not just teachers and students. Our principal’s car was damaged as well.”

A few years ago the Holmes Elementary School, located in the rough and tumble Englewood area, was slated to be closed due to low test scores. The teachers were able to prove that amazing things were being accomplished at the school, such as inspiring reading programs and hands-on learning projects. The spirited fight was punctuated with a sign that read Save Our School, which caught the eye of Jesse Jackson’s son Jonathan Jackson, who helped fight to keep Holmes from being closed.

The Board of Education then decided to remove Holmes from the infamous closing list, against the wishes of the current alderman Joann Thompson. Thompson is a supporter of the Academy of Urban School Leadership, a private management company that takes over “turnaround” schools that fire the entire staff. Holmes staff say AUSL was slated to take over Holmes, as they did the Sherman Elementary School just further up the road.

Significant renovations took place at the school – probably inspired by the assumed AUSL takeover - the year after being removed from the closing list, including installing a handicapped accessible bathroom and the installation of many security cameras.

In fact, Sharp said CPS told their previous CTU field rep that 18 security cameras have been installed in the lunchroom that was recently renovated.

Apparently, the security of the staff and students around the school are of no immediate concern to the Board of Ed.

In the era of Big Brother and surveillance cameras, it is becoming more and more apparent that the government continues to lie about its intentions.

Over at the Washington High School in the southeast side of the city, the embattled principal who is facing numerous lawsuits alleging racism and harassment, has likewise installed many security cameras throughout the school.

However, while the school’s director claims the cameras are there to deter student violence, she may be actually using the cameras to fight any opposition to her tyrannical rule that has erupted into almost a 100 grievances filed and a warning resolution issued to her from the Board of Ed.

According to school delegate John Whitfield, she is currently trying to fire a teacher who allegedly did not discipline a student found in the possession of a narcotic. The proof was a video tape of the teacher’s classroom provided by the security camera.

“It is an Orwellian nightmare where she is using the cameras to get teachers rather than deter violence,” Whitfield earlier told Substance News.

As former professional wrestler turned professional politician Jesse “the Body” Ventura noted, when the government says they want to protect you, be prepared to lose your freedom.

But in the case of CPS, many of those losing their freedoms under the glare of security camera lights are not even being protected in the process.


August 9, 2011 at 11:58 AM

By: John Whitfield

Those Orwellian CPS cameras

Several other GWHS staff members have been accused of serious matters based on the supposition "that it was seen on camera".

Some have showed nothing, others the wrong day, and others have turned up missing.

The parking lot camera was taken down after a teacher’s vehicle was vandalized, and after the grievance called for the tape on this, saying that the camera had not been functioning. By the time the matter went through the PPC (Professional Problems Committee), a police report filed, and to the appeal hearing at labor relations, a new camera had been put up. CTU has made a request for arbitration. Thank you Substance for remembering George Washington High School.

John Whitfield, GWHS CTU delegate

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