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As schools become more dangerous... CPS Endangers Staff and Children: Refuses to Provide Any Safety Training Documents in violation of the FOIA law...

The latest "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools, Forrest Claypool, was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in July 2015, following the federal indictment of Claypool's predecessor, Barbara Byrd Bennett, on corruption charges (Byrd Bennett has since pleaded guilty). Within a month, Claypool had replaced the former "General Counsel" of CPS with Robert Marmer (above right). Marmer and Claypool first became acquainted when they worked together at the Chicago Transit Authority, and knew nothing about public education or public education law when they began their leadership turns at salaries of a quarter million dollars each. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. In an ongoing struggle for transparency and accountability to have Chicago Public Schools provide safety training and safety compliance documents, the Illinois Attorney General issued a "determination letter" on March 22, 2016. The Attorney General's letter stated that CPS violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in Illinois by not responding to requests for safety documents by Substance News.

“The facts are undisputed that CPS failed to properly respond to Dr. Kugler's FOIA requests,” (3/22/16, determination letter, Office of the Attorney general, State of Illinois) "It is a fundamental obligation of government to operate openly and provide public records as expediently and efficiently as possible in compliance with this Act." 5 ILCS 140/1 (West 2014).

The information requested is to see if the third largest school district in the USA is properly training staff to keep the schools safe for the 400,000 children that attend school every day.

The general topic of "safety and security" has two major categories: school safety (which includes environmental problems ranging from bad plumbing to asbestos poisoning) and "security" (which in its most desperate example means gang violence in schools -- including the "lock down" because there is an "active shooter" in or around the school). Historically, CPS officials, before the current administrations (basically, since Rahm Emanuel took office in May 2011) have insisted that principals and other administrators be trained specifically -- and on an annual basis -- on safety and security issue. For decades, prior to the current administrations, CPS officials have also issued a binder for principals and other administrators, outlining, in tabs, what to do when certain emergencies (ranging from tornados to "active shooter") take place.

The seven members of the Chicago Board of Education (four of whom can be seen on the left in the above photo) have not asked a single real question about school security and safety since their July 2015 (or later) appointments by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. instead, the Board members have approved litigation against former CPS Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd Bennett, while ignoring laws such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and escalating problems with school security and safety across the nation's third largest school system. Substance photo, January 27, 2016, by George N. Schmidt. Whether the training or the documents are still being done is the question now before the public in Chicago.

In the light of the Flint Michigan two-year cover up of lead poisoning of an entire city, Substance News has taken on the fight for full disclosure, transparency and accountability for the safety and ecurity of the staff and children in the Chicago Public Schools.

The school district is obstructing the public’s right to safety and security information for the children and staff of the Chicago Schools. Meanwhile, Substance has been documenting the discipline and security problems that have been erupting across the city, with examples running from the gang murder in broad daylight of a former Taft High School student (who had been transferred to an "alternative school") all the way to gang eruptions at schools more than 22 miles to the Southeast, near the Indiana border. Schools have also been facing more safety issues since the massive privatization of food and janitorial services in recent years. Instead of transparency, the public in Chicago gets propaganda press statements -- and massive cover ups.

To this date (April 19, 2016) no documents have been provided since the Illinois Attorney general clearly stated:

“In accordance with the conclusions expressed in this determination, this office requests that CPS take immediate and appropriate action to provide Dr. Kugler with all responsive records…”

The different documents requested were the following. Some of the requests were made nine months ago:

1. Training on the handling, storagee and use of Chemicals (glues, cleaning solvents, aerosols, etc…); 2015 PAC 36318 (Request for Review - HAZCom Training)

2. Training on how to handle any injuries. 2015 PAC 36328 (Request for Review - Bloodborne Pathogens Training)

3. Training on the use of safety equipment. 2015 PAC 36329 (Request for Review - PPE Training)

4. Training on emergencies including active shooter. 2015 PAC 36336 (Request for Review - Emergency Action and Response Training)

5. Training on working in small spaces. Closets, boiler rooms, etc….. 2015 PAC 36334 (Request for Review - Confined Space Training)

6. Medical confidentiality Training, IEPs, 504 Plans, medications, All staff should have this training since we are dealing with these issues every day. 2015 PAC 36318 (Request for Review - HIPAA Training)

By the time Forrest Claypool (right) and the new members of the Board of Eduction were forcing out then General Counsel James Bebley (left), Bebley had more than a decade of experience and knowledge of Illinois school law and the legal challenges facing Chicago's public schools. Bebley and Cleypool sat beside each other during the August 26, 2015 meeting of the Board, Bebley's last. None of the Board members publicly questioned the recommendation by Claypool that Robert Marmer, a Claypool crony from Claypool's days at the Chicago Transit Authority, become the top legal officer in the nation's third largest school system, and Marmer was thus appointed. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. In a show of good faith and understanding to those who work in the bureaucracy of CPS, this story was withheld for a month. We did that to see if there would be any response from CPS officials, especially in light of the fact that under recent administrations there have been many cuts in clerical and other staff who were once in charge of compiling and documenting these things. Accordingly, this story is now released since it is clear that Chicago Public Schools is operating virtually as a criminal enterprise -- one that believes it is above the law.

Below is the determination letter from the Illinois Attorney General:

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE OF ILLINOIS, Lisa Madigan

March 22, 2016, Via electronic mail

To: Dr. John Kugler Reporter, Substance News, kuglerjohn@hotmail.com

CC: Ms. Jaculin Jerman Milovich, Senior Assistant General Counsel Law Department

Chicago Public Schools, 1 North Dearborn Street, 9th Floor Chicago, Illinois 60602

jjerman@cps.edu

RE: FOIA Requests for Review —

2015 PAC 36318 2015 PAC 36328

2015 PAC 36329

2015 PAC 36334

2015 PAC 36336

Dear Dr. Kugler and Ms. Milovich:

This determination letter is issued pursuant to section 9.5(f) of the Freedom of

Information Act (FOIA) (5 ILCS 140/9.5(f) (West 2014)). This office consolidated five

Requests for Review in this determination because they contain the same allegation that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) failed to properly respond to Dr. John Kugler's FOIA requests. For the reasons that follow, the Public Access Bureau concludes that CPS violated the requirements of FOIA by failing to issue timely responses to Dr. Kugler's June 5, 2015, FOIA requests.

On that date, Dr. Kugler submitted five separate FOIA requests to CPS seeking copies of various records pertaining to the training of CPS staff on a range of Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) standards. On June 5, 2015, confirmed by e-mail that it had received Dr. Kugler's FOIA requests, and advised him that CPS would respond within five business days. The notification also advised that if an extension of time was required the requester would receive written notice within five business days providing the reason for the extension and the date by which the records would be available.

On June 16, 2015, CPS notified Dr. Kugler by e-mail that pursuant to section 3(e) of FOIA (5 ILCS 140/3(a) (West 2014)), it was extending the time to respond to his FOIA requests by five additional business days because CPS needed to consult with other departments before responding to the requests. CPS indicated that it would respond to the requests by June 23, 2015. On July 15, 2015, this office received Dr. Kugler's Request for Reviews alleging that he did not receive further communication from and CPS, and therefore, it had failed to provide proper responses to his FOIA requests.

On July 21, 2015, this office forwarded a copy of the Request for Reviews to CPS and asked it to provide a summary of its receipt and handling of Dr. Kugler's June 5, 2015, FOIA requests and asked CPS to promptly respond to the requests if it had not yet done so. CPS did not respond to the Public Access Bureau's July 21, 2015, letters.

On October 8, 2015, a representative of this office sent an e-mail to CPS for an update on the status of CPS responding to these FOIA requests. CPS did not respond to that e-mail, either.

On February 2, 2016, a representative of this office spoke with the FOIA Officer for CPS who stated that CPS had not responded to Dr. Kugler's FOIA requests because CPS was still in the process of retrieving the records, which were stored on a previous employee's computer.

On February 23, 2016, a representative of this office sent an e-mail to the FOIA Officer of CPS again asking for an update on the status of CPS responding to Dr. Kugler's June 5, 2015, FOIA requests. The FOIA Officer responded by maintaining that CPS was in the process of retrieving the records.

On March 11, 2016, an Assistant Attorney General in the Public Access Bureau contacted an attorney for CPS, by e-mail, for an update on the status of CPS's response. The Public Access Bureau did not receive an answer to this e-mail. To date, this office has not received any information indicating that CPS has provided records or otherwise responded to Dr. Kugler's June 5, 2015, FOIA requests.

DETERMINATION

"It is a fundamental obligation of government to operate openly and provide public records as expediently and efficiently as possible in compliance with this Act." 5 ILCS 140/1 (West 2014). Under section 1.2 of FOIA (5 ILCS 140/1.2 (West 2014)), 101 records in the custody or possession of a public body are presumed to be open to inspection or copying." Section 3(a) of FOIA (5 ILCS 140/3(a) (West 2014)) provides that "[e]ach public body shall make available to any person for inspection or copying all public records, except as otherwise provided in Section 7 of this Act.”

The procedures for responding to a FOIA request are clear. Section 3(b) of FOIA (5 ILCS 140/3(b) (West 2014)) provides that "each public body shall promptly provide, to any person who submits a request, a copy of any public record required to be disclosed by subsection (a) of this Section and shall certify such copy if so requested." Section 3(d) of FOIA (5 ILCS 140/3(d) (West 2014)) further provides:

“Each public body shall, promptly, either comply with or deny a request for public records within 5 business days after its receipt of the request, unless the time for response is properly extended under subsection (e) of this Section. Denial shall be in writing as provided in Section 9 of this Act. Failure to comply with a written request, extend the time for response, or deny a request within 5 business days after its receipt shall be considered a denial of the request. A public body that fails to respond to a request within the requisite periods in this Section but thereafter provides the requester with copies of the requested public records may not impose a fee for such copies. A public body that fails to respond to a request received may not treat the request as unduly burdensome under subsection (g).”

The facts are undisputed that CPS failed to properly respond to Dr. Kugler's FOIA requests. Although CPS did initially extend the time for response pursuant to section 3(e) of FOIA, CPS failed to comply with Dr. Kugler's FOIA requests, obtain an agreement in writing with Dr. Kugler to extend the time for compliance for an additional time period determined by the parties, or deny the request within 5 business days of the extended period for responding to these FOIA requests. CPS's failure to comply with the requisite procedures violated section 3(d) of FOIA.

In accordance with the conclusions expressed in this determination, this office requests that CPS take immediate and appropriate action to provide Dr. Kugler with all responsive records, subject only to permissible redactions under section 7 of FOIA (5 ILCS 140/7 (West 2014), as amended by Public Act 99-298, effective August 6, 2015). If any records are redacted or withheld, CPS must provide a written notice of denial that includes "a detailed factual basis for the application of any exemption claimed[.]" 5 ILCS 140/9(a) (West 2014).

Furthermore, this office reminds CPS that section 3(d) of FOIA provides that a "public body that fails to respond to a request within the requisite periods in this Section but thereafter provides the requester with copies of the requested public records may not impose a fee for such copies." Section 3(d) also precludes a public body that fails to issue a timely response from denying a request as unduly burdensome. CPS should be mindful of its obligation to issue timely responses to future

The Public Access Counselor has determined that resolution of this matter does not require the issuance of a binding opinion. This letter shall serve to close this matter. If you have any questions, you may contact me by mail at the Chicago address listed on the first page of this letter.

Very truly yours,, SHANNON BARNABY, Assistant Attorney General Public Access Bureau

36318 36328 36329 36334 36336 f 3d no pb response sd



Comments:

April 25, 2016 at 1:45 PM

By: Jo-Anne Cairo

John Kugler

Thank You, for the safety of our students and staff.

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