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Stories by Matt Masterson

CPS Takes ‘Unprecedented Step’ of Redoing Employee Background Checks

Tens of thousands of adult employees who interact with students must undergo background rechecks this summer as Chicago Public Schools works to improve safety and restore community trust after a sexual abuse scandal.

Emanuel, Johnson Depositions Released in LeGrier Wrongful Death Case

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is deposed in March as part of an investigation into the 2015 shooting death of West Side teen Quintonio LeGrier and his neighbor Bettie Jones by a Chicago police officer. (Courtesy City of Chicago)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he hasn’t interfered with the investigation into the 2015 shooting death of a West Side teen and his neighbor by a Chicago police officer, according to newly released transcripts of his March deposition.

UChicago Drops SAT/ACT Requirements, Adds Financial Aid For More Families

Julius Rosenwald Hall at the University of Chicago (Czmurio / Wikimedia Commons)

High schoolers looking to attend the prestigious Hyde Park university no longer need to worry about submitting ACT or SAT test scores on their undergrad applications.

Erin’s Law Meant to Protect Students from Sexual Abuse. What Happens When It’s Not Enforced?

A state law passed in 2011 requires public schools to educate students about sexual abuse prevention. But the woman behind Erin’s Law says dozens of CPS teachers have told her these lessons aren’t being taught.

More than 50 Charged After West Side Narcotics Raids

CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks to the media Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

In an investigation dubbed “Operation Full Circle,” local and federal authorities say they recovered heroin, fentanyl, marijuana and more than a dozen firearms.

New Chicago Gang Book Highlights Rise in Factions, Social Media Use

The Chicago Crime Commission on Tuesday published its first new Gang Book in six years. In it, they examine the new and changing trends and issues within gang culture.

‘He’s Not Coming Back’: Family Wants Justice for Man in Fatal Police Shooting

Chicago teens hold a three-minute “die-in” at City Hall on Monday, June 11 in remembrance of Maurice Granton Jr. and others killed by the Chicago Police Department. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Chicago teens joined Parkland shooting survivors and the family of a man shot and killed last week in a confrontation with Chicago police to “demand justice” for victims of gun violence.

CPS Watchdog Says His Office Should Handle Sex Abuse Investigations

CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler during a Dec. 11, 2017 appearance on Chicago Tonight.

CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler says the district’s current method lends itself to conflicts of interest between employees and the victims they’re tasked with protecting.

Court Rejects Gary Solomon’s Appeal for Resentencing in SUPES Scandal

Courtroom sketch from October 2015 depicts Gary Solomon, right, and Thomas Vranas, left, in federal court. (Credit: Thomas Gianni)

Former SUPES co-owner Gary Solomon believes he should have received a shorter sentence than former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. A federal appeals court disagreed.

Losses from Lottery Scams Topped $100 Million Last Year: BBB

Consumer watchdogs are warning residents across Chicago and beyond to be on the lookout for lottery scams that cost residents tens of millions of dollars in the last year alone.

2 Former CPS Students Sue Board of Ed Over Failure to Prevent Sex Abuse

Claiming the Board of Education knew a Hubbard High School security guard posed a “significant threat” to students but did nothing to remove him, two former students are now suing the board.

CPS Failed to Protect Students from Sex Abuse: Tribune Report

(Don Harder / Flickr)

Through repeated failures and mistakes, Chicago Public Schools failed to protect hundreds of students from sexual abuse and misconduct by its own employees, according to a bombshell report from the Chicago Tribune.

City Extends Deadline for One Summer Chicago Applications

(Trey Ratcliff / Flickr)

Chicago teens and young adults now have until Monday to submit applications for any one of 32,000 summer employment opportunities.

Van Dyke Case: State Supreme Court Orders Case Filings Be Made in Public

Jason Van Dyke, left, with his attorney Daniel Herbert inside the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago on Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Illinois’ highest court has struck down a Cook County judge’s order requiring all filings in the murder case of suspended Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke to be made in his chambers under seal.

CPS Parents: Monitor Not Enough to Fix Special Education

Parents and advocates want to see Chicago Public Schools take more action to resolve its special education issues beyond the addition of a state monitor who will oversee district reforms.

CPS Watchdog: Wealthy Families Benefitting From Free Admission to Montessori Pre-K

Oscar Mayer Magnet School (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Families living within Chicago Public Schools’ most affluent attendance area have been receiving priority access to highly coveted seats at a Lincoln Park magnet school, according to a new report.

Chicago Police Adding 1,300 Officers for Memorial Day Weekend

Additional patrols will cover the lakefront, downtown and other areas where Chicago police expect there could be increased violence during the holiday weekend.

New Study Examines Long-Term Impacts of 2013 CPS Closures

The former Attucks Elementary School building, located near Washington Park, is one of the 50 schools CPS closed in 2013. (Steven Kevil / Wikimedia Commons)

What happened to students caught up in one of the largest waves of school closures in U.S. history? A University of Chicago study suggests the controversial move did not result in academic gains.

CPS Adds New Equity Officer Position in Effort to Tackle ‘Opportunity Gap’

Chicago Public Schools is creating a chief position to oversee equity, diversity and inclusion. “Talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not,” CPS CEO Janice Jackson told staff.

Attorneys to Blanket Chicago Police Stations Saturday Offering Free Aid

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

Fewer than 2 percent of people arrested in Chicago last year met with an attorney while in police custody. Local advocates are looking to boost those numbers with a day of service Saturday.

Why Are Some Schools Left Out of the US News Rankings?

New Trier High School in Winnetka. (Wikimedia Commons)

Despite regularly placing on “best schools” lists, New Trier High School did not earn a nod last week from U.S. News & World Report. How those rankings are determined – and why some high-performing schools get left out.

CPS Hopes to ‘Right the Wrongs,’ Will Accept Special Education Monitor

State education officials have recommended additional oversight of special education policies at Chicago Public Schools after finding the district violated federal law.

Chicago Police Seize 100th Assault Weapon This Year

An array of assault weapons recovered this year by the Chicago Police Department. (Chicago Police Department / Twitter)

“That just goes to show you how many illegal guns get out here on the streets of Chicago,” CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson told media Thursday.

Chicago Gang Officers Charged With Stealing Cash, Drugs

A pair of Chicago Police officers allegedly paid off informants with stolen goods to obtain search warrants, and falsified police reports to cover up their actions.

No Criminal Charges for Retired Evanston Teacher Accused of Sexual Abuse

Evanston Township High School

Authorities say they investigated abuse allegations made by 35 former ETHS students against longtime theater teacher Bruce Siewerth. “The lack of prosecution is not due to lack of evidence,” Evanston Police Cmdr. Ryan Glew said.

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