Stories by Matt Masterson

Lawsuit Claims Acero Charter Violated Special Education Law, Retaliated Against Whistleblower

(Google Maps)

A former reading specialist at a Chicago charter school claims she faced retaliation and termination last year after voicing concerns about special education students she believes were illegally denied proper supports.

CPS Teacher Removed After Allegedly Bringing in Friend to Beat Student

(Don Harder / Flickr)

“I want my mama,” the 9-year-old victim pleaded as he was being beaten with a belt inside his school's bathroom, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday. His attacker told him, “I am your mama.”

State Board of Education Rolling Out New Proficiency Exam Next Month


Illinois is moving away from the PARCC assessment, but students might not notice much of a difference when the Illinois Board of Education rolls out its new federally mandated exam this spring.

Teachers at 4 Chicago Charter Schools Go On Strike

Chicago International Charter School teachers strike on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (@AFTunion / Twitter)

Educators say Chicago International Charter School leadership refuses to use a $36 million surplus on staff raises or classroom improvements. Around 2,200 students are being impacted by the strike.

Van Dyke Prosecutor Joseph McMahon, Attorney General Discussing Sentence Challenge

| Alexandra Silets

The lead prosecutor in the Jason Van Dyke murder trial says he’s spoken with the state’s top legal officer about the possibility of challenging the prison sentence handed down to the former Chicago police officer.

Police Hoping to Identify Bank Robbery Suspect

(Chicago Police Department)

Chicago police release surveillance photos in the hopes of identifying a man suspected of robbing a pair of downtown banks in broad daylight last month.

‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett Breaks Silence on ‘Horrific,’ ‘Cowardly’ Attack

In this May 14, 2018 file photo, Jussie Smollett, a cast member in the TV series “Empire,” attends the Fox Networks Group 2018 programming presentation after-party in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini / Invision / AP, File)

In his first public comments since reporting an attack, actor Jussie Smollett said he’s working with authorities and has been “100% factual,” disputing rumors online that he has been less than forthcoming with Chicago police.

Police: January Crime Stats Show Fewest Number of Murders Since 2010

The Chicago Police Department points to an increase in officers and an expansion in technology in helping draw down crime and violence totals in the first 31 days of 2019.

Police Release Photos of ‘Persons of Interest’ in Attack on ‘Empire’ Star

This image provided by the Chicago Police Department and taken from surveillance video shows two people of interest in an attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett walking along a street in the Streeterville neighborhood early Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. (Courtesy of Chicago Police Department via AP)

Chicago police are asking for help identifying two persons of interest captured in surveillance images in the area of the Tuesday morning attack of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.

Federal Judge Approves Historic Chicago Police Consent Decree

| Paris Schutz
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson discuss steps toward oversight of the Chicago Police Department on Aug. 29, 2017.

U.S. District Judge Robert Dow called the historic decree “an important first step toward needed reforms of the Chicago Police Department and its policies.”

Frostbite Can Hit in Just 5 Minutes. Here’s What You Can Do To Prevent It

A person navigates a snowy Adams Street on a Divvy bicycle on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. (Rich Hein / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

With temperatures nearing record lows across the Midwest, frostbite can occur in a matter of minutes. We ask a local surgeon about frostbite symptoms, treatment and prevention.

CPS Cancels Thursday Classes, Students Off Until Next Week

Chicago's lakefront is covered with ice on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. Temperatures are plummeting in Chicago as officials warn against venturing out into the dangerously cold weather. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

“Since temperatures are expected to stay at dangerous levels through Thursday, we are canceling school to ensure families have ample time to plan ahead,” CPS CEO Janice Jackson said in a statement Tuesday.

Laquan McDonald’s Family, Advocacy Groups Demand Action on Van Dyke Sentence

The Rev. Marvin Hunter appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Jan. 21, 2019.

Attorneys from several legal groups penned a letter on behalf of the slain teen’s great uncle, claiming the former cop received an “illegal” sentence based on reasoning that “cannot be reconciled” with Illinois law.

State Education Superintendent Tony Smith Leaving Office

State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Jan. 11, 2018.

Tony Smith announced Tuesday that his contract will not be renewed after it ends on Jan. 31, bringing to a close his nearly four-year term as Illinois’ schools chief.

Police: ‘Empire’ Star Attacked in Possible Racist, Homophobic Hate Crime

In this May 14, 2018 file photo, Jussie Smollett, a cast member in the TV series “Empire,” attends the Fox Networks Group 2018 programming presentation after-party in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini / Invision / AP, File)

Chicago police are asking for help in identifying two offenders who allegedly attacked a star of the TV series “Empire” in what investigators believe may have been a “racially-charged assault.”

Cook County Courthouses to Close Wednesday and Thursday Due to Cold

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Bail hearings and some pretrial hearings will continue, but all other court operations will be postponed for part of the week in anticipation of a near-record cold snap.

Kim Foxx Plans to Expunge Misdemeanor Marijuana Convictions

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Dec. 20, 2018.

In announcing the plan, the Cook County state’s attorney said her office must avoid “needlessly bringing people into the criminal justice system” and instead focus on prosecuting violent crime cases.

Attorney General, Special Prosecutors Reviewing Van Dyke Sentence

Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke enters the courtroom for his sentencing hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Last week, a Cook County judge handed down an 81-month prison sentence to former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke. But was a different sentence required? The state attorney general’s office says it’s now taking a look at that decision to see if it fits with state sentencing requirements. 

CPS Watchdog: 33 Adults Pulled from Schools Over Sex Abuse Allegations

Nearly three dozen Chicago Public Schools staffers, including 12 teachers, have been removed from schools due to sexual abuse allegations in recent months, according to the district’s watchdog.

Evanston School District Reaches Settlement With Students Who Alleged Sex Abuse

Evanston Township High School

Evanston Township High School district officials have reached an agreement with four former students who claimed they were sexually abused decades ago by a former drama teacher.

Jason Van Dyke Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison

Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke and his attorney Daniel Herbert, right, listen as the judge describes how he’ll be sentenced on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan sentences the former Chicago cop to 81 months in prison – just under seven years – for the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald. He will likely only have to serve about half of that sentence.

Jason Van Dyke to be Sentenced Friday in Laquan McDonald Killing

Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke attends a post-conviction hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on  Dec. 14, 2018. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

In October, he became the first Chicago cop in decades to be convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting. Now, the former police officer will learn his sentence for the 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Chicago Cops Found Not Guilty in Laquan McDonald Cover-Up Trial

Background: Ex-Officer Joseph Walsh, second from left, former Detective David March, center, and Chicago police Officer Thomas Gaffney arrive in court on the first day of trial on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. Foreground: Special prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes, right, and special prosecutor Ron Safer, left. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

A Cook County judge says a trio of current and former Chicago police officers did not conspire to hide details of the Laquan McDonald shooting in an unprecedented trial that put a spotlight on the police department’s so-called code of silence.

Verdict Due in Laquan McDonald Cover-Up Trial Thursday

From left: Former Chicago Detective David March, officer Thomas Gaffney and former officer Joseph Walsh attend a pretrial hearing Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Were three Chicago cops following procedure after an officer-involved shooting? Or did they engage in a cover-up to try and protect their fellow officer? That’s what a Cook County judge will decide this week.

CTU Kicks Off Contract Bargaining With List of Demands for Mayor

CTU President Jesse Sharkey outlines his union's contract demands in a press conference Tuesday inside City Hall. (Chicago Tonight)

More than two years removed from a midnight deal to avert what would have been the second strike in four years, members of the Chicago Teachers Union are heading back to the bargaining table.