Liz Harrington appeared Friday on Fox Business Network’s Varney and Company where she discussed her latest story on Inspector General report showing Chicago public school employees behaving badly.
STUART VARNEY: New allegations that employees in the Chicago public school district engage in fraud, even used drugs with students. Liz Harrington from the Washington Free Beacon is reporting on this and has details. Liz, first of all, the extraordinary allegation and I believe it was placed by the Inspector General in Chicago of public schools, teachers had used drugs with students. Can you elaborate on that? What’s the allegation?
LIZ HARRINGTON: Sure, so yes, the Inspector General released its annual review on everything it has investigated within the Chicago public school system last year. And one of the big things they found was obviously the CEO having engaged in a $23 million kickback scam. But they also uncovered lots of other illegal activity and for one, they found a teacher’s assistant who was arrested with 18 pounds of cannabis. And another teacher who was arrested for smoking marijuana with a student in a car. You had a security officer soliciting teenage high school girls for sex. You had other officials stealing from the cheerleading school fund to sell those online or taking cash and taking it with them. You had other officials use the museum passes that were meant for kids’ showed for the first day of school it was meant to reward them for being good students and they stole them and tried to sell the online. So lots of bad behavior going on in Chicago.
VARNEY: You give us a lot of examples here. Can you draw the conclusion that this bad behavior so to speak is really widespread in Chicago school districts? Can you make that assumption?
HARRINGTON: I mean from reading the report and obviously this spans a year and there are lots investigations, but you do see a pattern here of lots of not seemingly qualified individuals are getting positions in the school system. And granted the right actions were taken in a lot of cases. A lot of them either resigned or fired.
VARNEY: Didn’t the teachers’ union in Chicago go on strike or threaten to go on strike and broke the back of Chicago’s finances with their demands and what they were actually given in their contract. That is reality isn’t it
HARRINGTON: They are threatening to strike again. I think this report adds to the poor state of affairs of the Chicago public-school system. The union is, you know, going after Rahm Emanuel as well. It’s really a bad position. I think this report doesn’t help their standing in the eyes for the rest of the nation.
VARNEY: The worst PR for any major city that I can imagine. Liz Harrington, Washington Free Beacon, thank you very much for joining us.