Martinez: Chicago -- not Springfield -- needs to fix its school district's sex abuse problems
Francisco Cruz “Keko” Martinez, the Republican candidate for Rock Island County sheriff, wants to know why Chicago leaders don’t do more to protect their own.
A recent Chicago Tribune series detailed how Chicago Public School students faced sexual abuse at the hands of adult predators and fellow students, leaving Martinez shocked and outraged.
“My concern is how the Chicago Public School system can’t do more to get this right,” Martinez told Rock Island Today. “Springfield may offer some money, but I would think Chicago parents, city leaders and administrators would be demanding more to make certain something like this doesn’t happen. These are their children and their futures.”
In the case of the student-on-student abuse, the Tribune’s “Betrayed” series uncovered 40 such cases in Chicago Public Schools over just the last decade. In more than half of the cases, the victim was a special needs student.
As desperate as the situation is, Martinez said he doesn’t see the solution lying in Springfield just throwing more money at the problem.
“In general, Springfield needs to be getting its own act together instead of bailing out some big city like Chicago with all their resources,” Martinez added. “But anytime you’re dealing with kids, the root of the problem starts at home and in the community. We have to do a better job of taking care of these kids. They need to know that they are watched over and that they matter.”
Running against Democratic incumbent Gerry Bustos, Martinez said he hopes to create more of that vibe once he’s in power by donating 10 percent of his salary to a non-profit that promotes Bible-based morality and patriotism.
“I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is,” the retired Marine master gunnery sergeant and Desert Storm war veteran said. “I long for the days when Chicago, Cook County and Rock Island County were all what they were when I was growing up, when everything was about extended family and everyone looked out for one another. I believe those are the values that help sustain a community and are what we need to be getting back to."