School Shootings

Northwestern musician joins Baha’i bicentenary performances this month

By Nicole Stock
Medill Reports

Chaos spilled through the streets outside, but the corner of a modest apartment in Kampala, Uganda, sheltered a small pot of tea and a plate of cookies. Christopher LaMountain, a Northwestern University senior, sat on a broken couch as the host passed out  on mcookies, a cup of tea, and a book of Baha’i prayers to every guest.

“The biggest shock for me was how standard everything is across the board in Baha’I communities,” said LaMountain, who is from Westborough, Mass. “I could be in a very humble house in Uganda and witness the exact same method of devotion, as happens in Sydney, Australia, in a mansion.”

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Local teens and activists join David Hogg in Evanston to call for gun violence prevention

By Nora Mabie
Medill Reports

Student activist David Hogg, survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting, joined local activists and community members in Evanston Thursday to call for gun violence prevention. They joined him just a year and a week after the attack that left 14 students and three staff members dead.

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The pressure for success in Chicago sports

By: Nick Mantas and Aaron Rose
Medill Reports

The Chicago Bears and Bulls haven’t won a championship in this century. ESPN and Sun Times reporters weigh in on the reasons for what has led to their unsuccessful seasons and what next season could bring for both organizations. During  the second segment,  we talk about the challenges of raising a young Chicago basketball star.

PHOTO AT TOP: Chicago Bears practice drills in the off-season. (Nicholas Mantas/MEDILL)

Stop The Violence

By Richard Foster-Shelton
Medill Reports

In recent years, Chicago has made international headlines for the sky-high murder rates in the city. Unfortunately, this problem has cast a shadow on the people that are doing their part to reverse the trend. During this episode of Medill Newsmakers, Richard Foster-Shelton highlights the people in Chicago that are making a positive impact – from 1st District Commissioner Richard Boykin to Jenesis Scullark of the Jeremy Scullark Foundation.

Photo at top: Chicago’s iconic skyline masks the truth about the city. (Richard Foster-Shelton/MEDILL)


Punching Back at the Crime in Chicago’s Southside

By Nick Mantas
Medill Reports

Children on the south side of Chicago are subjected to an alarming rate of violence from a very young age. Without after school activities to keep these kids from joining gangs, many find themselves in a gang before high school.

Sally Hazelgrove took it upon herself to create Crushers Club in Englewood in order to get the kids off the streets.

Her goal is to open multiple clubs like this one in order to turn off the stream of the next generation of gang members.

Photo at top: The walls are decorated with photos of Crusher’s Club members. (Nicholas Mantas/MEDILL)

Amid national crisis, Walter Payton College Prep sets safety example

By Robbie Weinstein
Medill Reports

As schools nationwide face questions about their security measures, one Chicago public high school might be a model.

Walter Payton College Prep, a magnet school on the city’s north side, has hundreds of students come in and out of its doors every day. Despite the school’s well-kept exterior, Payton’s extensive security measures are the first thing to jump out.

Anyone entering the building must be buzzed in by security; the doors are locked. Just inside the entrance sits the security desk and a metal detector, where Head of Security Judith Watkins monitors the entrance and cameras across the school. Students must scan ID cards at the desk to enter; the desk computer shows their photos and where they’re supposed to be. Officers roam the halls and outside the building at all times.

Although security officers don’t carry firearms, Watkins is confident in Walter Payton’s measures. Even entering the building is a challenge.

“If I don’t know who you are, you don’t get in.”

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Romeoville High School “modifies” walk-out after Instagram threat

By Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

Romeoville High School students participated in 17 minutes of silence in their gym in lieu of a walk-out protest that was canceled early Wednesday morning as a result of a prior threat posted by a student on Instagram.

The school’s decision to postpone the walk-out came early Wednesday, after Romeoville police found the threat not credible.

“We told them we’d have to modify our plans from what we had originally had planned to go outside,” Principal Derek Kinder said, “just because of the perceived threat and the uneasiness from some of our parents and students.”

Instead of participating in the nationwide walkout movement, about 1,100 students filed into the southwest suburban high school’s gym around 10 a.m. Wednesday to commemorate the 17 shooting victims in last month’s attack in Parkland.

Romeoville High School has an enrollment of about 1,800, but Kinder said around 1,300 students came to school Wednesday, with the threat playing a role in the low attendance. Kinder also said the school would make up the originally planned “assembly” at a later date. Romeoville police officers were stationed outside school Wednesday as a precaution.

The Instagram threat posted Tuesday showed a picture of a student with a weapon. Police said that one person posted the picture and others followed it with comments about the school not being safe the following day. Police contacted the student who posted the photo and determined that the weapon was an air-soft gun.

“There was never a threat that was communicated or intended,” Romeoville Deputy Police Chief Steve Lucchesi said.

“No one had the intent for it to be a threat and go viral.”

The uncertainty surrounding the threat prompted the cancelation of a counter-protest planned outside the school during the walk-out. Romeoville resident Savannah Denvir, in conjunction with right-wing group Overpasses for America, organized the counter-protest, but canceled it after talking with police.

“A few of them, maybe five or so, still came anyway,” Lucchesi said. “But it was peaceful. There were no issues.”

Kinder said the counter-protestors were not a concern and didn’t influence the decision to postpone the walk-out.

Amid high school walkouts, Chicago college students make voices heard

By Robbie Weinstein
Medill Reports

Most Chicago colleges and universities joined high schools across the nation in staging walkouts on Wednesday, protesting gun laws and violence in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

Students from Northwestern University, Truman College, Malcolm X College, Roosevelt University, Columbia College and the University of Illinois at Chicago participated to varying degrees. Some demonstrations only took place in the morning at 10 a.m., but others had broader scopes.

Northwestern hosted a daylong menu of events, starting at 10 a.m. Students held a walkout and moment of silence, along with a letter-writing campaign aimed at politicians.

But come afternoon, a hoax caused chaos on campus.

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Protestors and pro-second amendment activists counter Chicago-area walkouts

By Chris Kwiecinski
Medill Reports

As tens of thousands of Chicago-area students walked out in protest of school shootings, gun owners, conservatives and students alike found ways to make their opposing voices heard.

Students stayed inside and gun owners launched counter protests to make their pro-gun stances known on a day that featured many anti-gun themes.

Bob Garza, a gun owner and member of Illinois Gun Owners Together, said students should be concerned about violence taking place in schools, however students with political agendas should not have been allowed to participate in the walkout.

“Once you allow them to take time off to express political events, you have to let them take time off for other political events,” Garza said. “If you’re going to be fair to everybody, you can’t pick and choose every time you’re going to apply the rule.”

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Chicago-area students walk out in protest of school shootings

By Serena Yeh
Medill Reports

At Oak Park and River Forest High School Wednesday morning, around 1000 students, many wearing orange in solidarity, walked out of their classes at 10 a.m., carrying signs protesting gun violence while marching around their school compound.

At Evanston Township High School, almost all 3,500 students entered their football stadium to chants of “Enough is Enough” and “NRA, Go Away.”

As they filled the bleachers, the students were given papers with a script template and 12 legislators’ phone numbers.

After listening to speeches from student senators, the ETHS students huddled in groups of twos or threes and made calls to pressure the lawmakers.

These students were among tens of thousands from elementary to middle to high schools to colleges across Chicago and the suburbs who marched out of their classes at 10 a.m. to protest gun violence and to stand for the victims of last month’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, where 17 people were killed.

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