Yesterday we published a story about an alleged drug-dealing, gun-selling murderer working as a “Safe Passage” guardian for Chicago Public School children. How this guy, Miguel Morales, got through a background check investigation before gaining his job to chaperone young, vulnerable children made us wonder about the people the Chicago Public School system has working around their kiddos.

Do the Chicago Public Schools background check their teachers, support staff and contract employees at all?  Or do they just turn a blind eye to convictions for things like, oh, murder and child sex crimes just to fill open staff vacancies?  Just how many murderers, child sex offenders and drug dealers does CPS allow around kids?

They still, 48 hours later, still haven’t responded to my formal, written request.

Sure they might think it’s a ludicrous question that doesn’t merit a response, but the answer to that question a couple of weeks ago, or at the end of last year would certainly be a “non-zero” answer.  And that’s appalling.

IF they screwed up, why not come clean and say, hey, we screened him but this didn’t show up.

But HOW could have they have missed this?  They surely require fingerprints as part of their pre-employment screening, do they not?

Oh wait, they surely do!

From the Chicago Public Schools website:

CPS Background Check Process

CPS manages a robust district-wide background check process for employees, vendor employees, volunteers, Local School Council members, and charter school partners.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is committed to running multiple, periodic background checks on all adults working and volunteering in schools as part of our Protecting Chicago’s Children Plan of Action. Checking our staff members’, vendor employees’, and volunteers’ backgrounds will guarantee that every adult consistently working with our students is evaluated through a rigorous background check process.

Candidates that are eligible for the CPS background check process include district employee candidates, vendors, volunteers, university students, and Local School Council members, as well as charter school staff, although CPS does not ultimately make any hiring decisions regarding charter school employees. As part of the CPS background check process, these candidates must complete and submit a Background Investigation Authorization and Release Form to a Chicago Board of Education approved fingerprinting vendor location to be processed. The form is specific to the candidate’s desired role at CPS, such as an employee, volunteer, or vendor. The completed form is consent from the candidate to allow the Board to conduct checks with the following entities and registries:

  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation
  2. Illinois State Police
  3. Nation-wide and state-wide sex offender registries
  4. Illinois State Police Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry.
  5. Department of Children and Family Services’ (DCFS) State Automated Child Welfare Information System
  6. Chicago Board of Education records regarding eligibility for rehire

CPS conducts a thorough, individualized assessment of every candidate’s background history, including any DCFS-indicated findings, by utilizing the Illinois School Code, the Illinois Human Rights Act 7, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines on Arrests and ConvictionsChicago Board of Education Rule 4-4, and/or the Chicago Board of Education’s Volunteer Policy

CPS is prohibited from hiring individuals, or allowing vendors to work in CPS schools, if they have been convicted of any enumerated offenses outlined in the School Code. For convictions for non-enumerated offenses, CPS makes its determination based upon the following factors: 

  1. Nature and gravity of the offense or conduct
  2. Amount of time passed since the offense
  3. Completion of sentence, including conduct during sentence
  4. Nature of job held or sought
  5. Age of applicant at the time of offense or conduct

Finally, for arrests that do not result in convictions, pursuant to the Illinois Human Rights Act, CPS may obtain or utilize information other than the arrest record that indicates whether an individual engaged in the conduct alleged in the arrest record. If it is determined that an applicant did engage in the alleged conduct, CPS will weigh the above factors before making a determination. 

If a candidate’s criminal background reports show a criminal history or DCFS-indicated findings, they may be asked for additional documentation which can include, but are not limited to:

  1. Arrest report(s)
  2. Original case incident report(s)
  3. Case supplementary report(s)
  4. Rap sheet(s)
  5. Certificate(s) of disposition
  6. Letter(s) of explanation
  7. “No records letter” from appropriate court 
  8. Consent for DCFS to release full investigative report(s) for an indicated finding 

If these documents are required, candidates will be notified individually along with details of how these documents can be obtained. Communication regarding background checks is primarily done via email. The Board does not accept background check results that were conducted previously by other organizations. 

Who needs a background check?

This text is intended to provide general guidance about who needs a background check. In case of specific questions about who needs a background check, please email us at with the specific details and we will respond to your query within two business days. 

All district employee candidates, university students, Local School Council members, and charter school staff candidates need background checks. 

All volunteers also need a background check, the specifics of which depend on whether they are a Level 1 or Level 2 volunteer. Please refer to the Board’s volunteer policy for more information. 

Staff of active CPS vendors’ need a background check unless: 

  1. They will never physically be at a CPS site and never interact with students (this includes virtually and in-person);
  2. They are delivering items or food to the security desk and will always be supervised by security staff.

In case principals have other categories of vendors who they believe don’t need a background check, they should email us at with the specific details. Principals may require all vendor staff in their buildings to undergo a background check.

Background Committee Operating Procedures

So how is it that a convicted murderer who spent two plus decades in prison slip through their vaunted background check process?

The answer?  

Because someone let him.

How many more people are like Mr. Morales, working around Chicago Public School kids with criminal histories of homicide, child sex crimes or drug dealing convictions?

It would seem the people deserve an answer instead of stonewalling from school staff.

2 thoughts on “Chicago Public Schools still mum on number of murderers, child sex offenders and drug dealers working around kids”
  1. If people really knew how many sleazoid felons, perverts, child-molesters and deviants Chicago hires, they would be picking up pitchforks and torches.

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