Stories by Matt Masterson

CPS Music Teacher’s Outreach Helps Replace Stolen Instruments

(Flickr / Feliciano Guimarães)

A music teacher at Fulton Elementary has raised thousands of dollars and collected donations from around Chicago to replace dozens of instruments that were stolen from his school.

FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Regulations Despite Protests

The Federal Communications Commission votes to repeal Obama-era protections for internet neutrality, citing the elimination of unnecessary regulations. But critics fear internet service providers may start using fees and censorship to limit access to some sites.

Reporter in Laquan McDonald Case Won’t be Forced to Testify

Jamie Kalven appears in court Dec. 6. (Courtesy of WGN)

Jamie Kalven, the Chicago journalist who broke the story of Laquan McDonald’s shooting death, will not be compelled to turn over his sources or testify in open court, a judge has ruled. “To have it resolved, and definitive resolved, was a big relief,” Kalven said.

Janice Jackson: What Does CPS’ Newest Leader Bring to the Table?

Janice Jackson speaks on July 16, 2015 after being named new chief education officer for Chicago Public Schools.

A former educator and principal, the Chicago native will attempt to bring stability to Chicago Public Schools’ tumultuous CEO position.

Chicago Police: Body-Camera Rollout Completed a Full Year Early

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

More than 7,000 sworn officers and personnel in the Chicago Police Department are now outfitted with body-worn cameras, a goal the city says it met more than a year early.

Forrest Claypool Resigns as Chicago Public Schools CEO

“We’ve made much progress, though there is much more work to be done,” Forrest Claypool said during his resignation announcement Friday.

Forrest Claypool said he hopes that when this chapter of his life is written, “people will say that even good men can make stupid mistakes.” And with that, the embattled schools chief officially resigned on Friday as Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools.

CPS Watchdog: Claypool Should be Fired For ‘Cover-Up,’ ‘Repeatedly Lying’

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool speaks to the media on April 19, 2017. (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Public Schools’ Inspector General Nicholas Schuler says CPS CEO Forrest Claypool engaged in a “cover-up” and “repeatedly lied” during a 16-month ethics investigation.

Claypool Blasted by Rapper’s Dad Over Plan to Close Englewood Schools

Ken Bennett previously served under Rahm Emanuel and former President Barack Obama. (Ken Bennett / Facebook)

Ken Bennett has served as an aide under Barack Obama, Harold Washington and Rahm Emanuel. On Wednesday, he called out the Chicago Public Schools CEO for the district’s plan to close four Englewood high schools next year.

LaSalle County Doctor Admits Trading Opioids for Sex, Takes Plea Deal

(The Javorac / Flickr)

From 2011 to 2013, a LaSalle County physician prescribed hundreds of thousands of milligrams of controlled substances to a trio of opioid-dependent patients in exchange for sex, according to a plea agreement.

Suburban Express Issues New Apology for ‘Grotesquely Xenophobic’ Ad

(Suburban Express / Facebook)

Facing ongoing controversy from an advertisement it now calls “indefensible,” a Champaign-based bus company says it hopes to “relaunch” its conduct and will cooperate with a state investigation into its business practices.

Suburban Express Bus Line Facing Blowback from ‘Offensive, Bigoted’ Ad

(Suburban Express / Facebook)

Attorney General Lisa Madigan issues a subpoena to college bus service Suburban Express over possible civil rights violations after the company told customers in an ad that “you won’t feel like you’re in China when you’re on our buses.”

CPS Announces School Action Plan: Closures, Consolidations in Proposal

NTA Conversion, Ogden-Jenner Merger Among Proposals

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

As Chicago Public Schools' five-year moratorium on school closures draws to an end, the district announced plans Friday for a new series of school closings, conversions and consolidations.

CPS Recommends Closing 1 Charter School, Opening Another

A day before Chicago Public Schools is expected to unveil its action plan following a five-year neighborhood school closing moratorium, the district announced it will move to shutter one charter school and authorize another.

Columbia College Part-Time Staff Strike As Labor Negotiations Wear On

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Part-time teachers and faculty, tired of dealing with what they see as attacks from administration on their academic freedom during labor negotiations, walked off the job Wednesday.

Police: Robbers Using Ruse to Get Residents Out of Their Homes

Chicago police say robbers on the city’s Northwest Side are deceptively warning residents of urgent situations such as gas or water leaks in order to gain entry and steal valuables.

CPS Asks State to Help Reform Special Education Offerings

CPS leaders want the Illinois State Board of Education to make sure the district is following best practices with its special ed programming, admitting “fundamental changes” are necessary.

15 Men Cleared in First-Ever Mass Exoneration in Cook County

“It’s a brand new beginning for me,” said Leonard Gipson, one of 15 men who had drug convictions vacated by a judge Thursday. The convictions stemmed from arrests made more than a decade ago by disgraced former Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts.

Chicago Tops 600 Homicides for Second Year in a Row

Shooting deaths are down across Chicago in 2017 after last year’s unexpected spike, but this week the city homicide totals crossed another grim milestone.

Cook County Settles Suit With Injured Detainee for $4.5M

Michael Borys was in jail for less than a day when he had a seizure and fell from his bunk, resulting in vision loss and multiple brain surgeries. Three years later, Cook County has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit 

FBI: Hate Crimes on Rise for Second Straight Year

The number of hate crimes recorded across the country rose nearly 5 percent last year, according to new data from the FBI. In Chicago, the number of recorded incidents rose 34 percent over 2015.

COPA Releases Footage of Pinned Officer Shooting Teen Driver

Oversight officials released several clips showing the shooting death of teen Juan Flores after he pinned an officer between his SUV and a squad car in September.

Defense Attorneys to Review Reported Sightings of Missing U. of I. Student

Yingying Zhang disappeared on June 9. (University of Illinois Police Department)

Yingying Zhang disappeared in June. Now, attorneys for the man accused in her kidnapping and death are requesting a delay in the trial, in part because they want to investigate possible sightings of the victim.

CPS Principal Reinstated After ‘Serious Errors’ Found in Watchdog Report

CPS inspector general standing by initial report, calls board review “unprecedented”

A Chicago Public Schools watchdog report recommended her termination just two months ago, but on Thursday, York Alternative High School Principal Sharnette Sims received an apology from the district and was told she’ll be reinstated to her position, effective immediately.

Why Does Trump Keep Saying Chicago Has ‘Strongest’ Gun Laws?

President Donald Trump this week again claimed—erroneously—that Chicago has the “strongest gun laws in our nation,” pushing back against the idea the tough legislation will reduce gun violence.

How to Predict Mass Shootings? Look For Domestic Violence, Says Professor

Could the deadly mass shooting inside a Texas church on Sunday have been predicted? Yes, a Northwestern professor argues, if only more attention had been paid to the gunman’s history of domestic violence.

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