CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson announced Sunday that 266 employees will not be returning on the first day of school because something in their background was flagged in a new round of districtwide checks.
Nearly 60 of the employees barred from returning to class were teachers, Jackson said in a statement.
An additional 245 of the 43,332 employees reviewed by Sunday were banned because they chose not to submit fingerprints for the checks.
The new school year starts Tuesday.
Of the 266 employees, Jackson wrote: "CPS will be conducting thorough investigations in all of these instances to better understand the circumstances of each unique case. Employees were only removed based on the results of their background checks if arrests were identified that suggest a potential history of violence, sexual misconduct, or dangerous criminal activity."
The announcement comes three days after Jackson declined to discuss the findings with the Tribune, saying she would only publicly share the results once the process was completed. The district also denied a Tribune public records request for the number of people who would be banned from entering schools.
CPS officials began the massive effort to redo background checks for school employees in June following a Tribune investigation that found some CPS employees who abused students had criminal backgrounds.
Jackson also cautioned that removal "does not necessarily mean employees have done anything wrong," saying that some may return to work if an inquiry concludes they do not pose a risk to a safe school environment.
The employees who opted not to submit fingerprints risk losing their positions permanently. Employees who do not participate in the checks will be disqualified from future employment, Jackson said.
The review also included vendors who interact with students, such as custodians, engineers and school bus drivers. Last week, officials were still working to collect fingerprints from school volunteers.
"There is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of adults serving in our schools are fully committed to keeping children safe, and the small minority of employees whose records require deeper inquiry will receive the thorough review they deserve," Jackson said.
As part of the process, the district budgeted more than $3 million to collect school-based workers' fingerprints, review their potential criminal histories and clear them to enter campuses this fall.
The district ran the employee fingerprints through state and federal databases and reviewed the nature of the results to determine whether the employees would remain in their positions.
Some offenses -- such as convictions for sexual abuse, some drug offenses and other crimes in the school code -- would lead to the immediate dismissal of staff. Jackson's statement did not say whether anyone was dismissed as a result of a background check.
In her statement, Jackson said the background checks are part of a series of steps the district has initiated to protect students.
Other measures include the creation of the district's first Office of Student Protection and Title IX, a partnership with the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center and the transferring of responsibility of investigating adult-on-student abuse reports to the Office of the Inspector General.