The explosive charges were made as she responded to interview questions about teacher union allegations that the budget crisis was manufactured to attack teacher seniority rules and move out older teachers.
DC teacher union members are furious, with the union head noting that he received no information that any of the 266 teachers laid off was under investigation for sexual misconduct with children.
Other union activists said they were especially offended by Rhee's remarks, in light of the recent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by her fiancé, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.
Before Johnson's 2008 election, the inspector general for the federal Corporation for National and Community Service filed a criminal referral with the U.S. attorney in Sacramento about Johnson. It included allegations that Johnson had inappropriately touched a minor girl and climbed into bed with a teenager who worked for the charter school he founded. The school received funding from Americorps, which is part of the community service corporation. Johnson was not charged.
"I'm ready to recommend that Chancellor Rhee submit for a fitness for duty examination because these are the rants of either a mad or very confused woman," Candi Peterson, a teacher and member of the union's board of trustees, said on the Washington Teacher blogRhee provided the Post with no details or substantiation of her claims when contacted on Friday.
1. Why were the teachers Rhee claims had sex with children allowed to remain in the classroom until budget cuts and staff reductions rolled around? Was any disciplinary action taken against them by the district?
2. Did Rhee report her allegations of serious crimes to the proper authorities; were there investigations (education professionals are "mandatory reporters of alleged child endangerment and sexual abuse)? Is she cooperating with the police now?
3. Did Rhee inform parents that their children may have been victims of sexual assault? Did she make counseling and medical services available to the children she believes were victimized?
4. Did Rhee inform the union of these charges as required?
If she did none of the above, Rhee may be culpable for endangering the students in her charge.
Or, of course, she could be lying.