Report: 73% of the Chicago Teachers Union voted against in-person learning, refuse to go in

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CHICAGO, IL- According to reports, on Tuesday, January 4th, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) voted 73 percent in favor of not returning to in-person learning.

CTU stated that it took the step out of concerns about inadequate COVID-19 protections and that teachers intend to continue to teach remotely until the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) meets their demands for safer conditions such as more testing, on-site vaccination clinics, and ventilation. 

As they waited for the outcome of the union vote, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, CPS CEO Pedro Martinez, and public health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady held a news conference where they insisted that despite the current spike in COVID-19 cases, children need to be back in school.

Lightfoot blasted the teachers union and warned that teachers who do not show up to school on Wednesday, January 5th, would be placed on no-pay status. In a reference to past strife with the CTU, Lightfoot said:

“I have to tell you, it feels like ‘Groundhog Day,’ that we are here again. There is no basis in the data, the science or common sense for us to shut an entire system down when we can surgically do this at a school level.”

Report: 73% of the Chicago Teachers Union voted against in-person learning, refuse to go in

With the spike in city cases and growing concerns about adequate mitigation, CTU’s House of Delegates and its 600-member governing body, approved a resolution for members to teach remotely from January 5th until January 18th, unless an agreement with CPS is reached for the rate of Chicago COVID-19 cases fall below a certain threshold.

CTU President Stacy Davis Gates told CNN:

“Testing, contact tracing and vaccination efforts by [Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot] administration have been an abject failure. Our mayor … is failing our students. We want a plan that looks like, that sounds like safety.”

On Monday, January 3rd, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he has no plans to implement statewide remote learning, adding that children should be in school. He said:

“I’ve said all along that it’s better for our students to have them in class. But, safely, and so that’s why we’ve provided and offered testing and we’ve offered and provided more vaccinations.

And so we hope that school districts across the state will take us up on that. Many have.”

In a statement on the night of January 4th, the CTU told parents that the union values their children as if they were their own while emphasizing their desire to safely return to in-person learning. The statement said:

“To be clear: Educators of this city want to be in buildings with their students. We believe that classrooms are where our children should be.

But as the results tonight show, Mayor Lightfoot and her CPS team have yet to provide safety for the overwhelming majority of schools.”

The statement added:

“Thousands of our members are CPS parents. To other parents and guardians of this city, we want you to know that when you put your children in our care, we put their well-being and safety first. We fight for your children like they are our own because when we teach, they are.”

CTU and CPS have been negotiating for months for a safety agreement for this school year.

In a proposal submitted at the end of December 2021, CTU called for students and staff members to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before entering buildings on Monday, January 3rd after their two-week winter break.

Short of that, the union asked the district to go virtual for two weeks so additional safety measures could be put in place. 

The city is reporting nearly 4,600 daily cases, a 7 percent increase from the week prior, with a thousands of the cases in children. According to city data, there are about seven child hospitalizations per day.

About 5,700 CPS students and 1,900 adults started the new calendar year in quarantine or isolation because they tested positive for COVID-19 or came in close contact with someone who had.

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Report: 49-year-old man beaten to death while hanging Christmas lights in police-defunded Chicago

December 15th, 2021

CHICAGO, IL- According to authorities, a man was beaten to death in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood on Saturday, December 11th, while hanging Christmas lights.

The Cook County’s Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as 49-year-old Jose Tellez. Neighbors said that Tellez was hanging holiday decorations with his family when he was attacked. Family friend and long time neighbor Silverio Nodal said:

“He was hanging up the Christmas decorations with his family and just out of the blue they come.” 

According to police, Tellez was hanging lights at his home in the 3500-block of West 58th Street around 6:30 p.m. when two people drove up in a sedan, armed with blunt objects and got out of their car and beat the 49-year-old in the head, leaving him clinging to life on his front lawn. Nodal said:

“We saw the ambulance at the end of the street and I thought maybe one of the neighbors was sick.”

Tellez was transported to Christ Medical Center in critical condition with head injuries and later died from those injuries.

According to those who knew him, Tellez was a husband, a father, and a community leader on his street for well over a decade. He was much beloved and often helped organize block parties.

On the night of Sunday, December 12th, his neighbors gathered down the street from his home with a plan to protect the block.

This is the beginning of their own neighborhood watch in hopes of preventing more senseless acts of violence. Fellow neighbors have also come together to raise funds for Tellez’ family. 

As of this writing, no one is currently in custody and police have yet to release the motive for the attack. This is an ongoing investigation. Police are actively searching for two people they believe to be suspects in the un-timely death of Tellez.

Report: 73% of the Chicago Teachers Union voted against in-person learning, refuse to go in

A neighbor said that two of the victim’s children were helping him decorate the residence when the attack occurred.

Tellez is survived by his wife and three children. A GoFundMe page has been created to help cover his funeral expenses and support his family. Another neighbor, Miguel-Angel Lopez, said:

“It was a tragedy that could happen to any of us here. And in this case unfortunately, it was his turn. There was a meeting yesterday of the neighbors in which we are trying to do activities to be more united and better the communication to support each other in this type of case.”

Nodal described Tellez as a “family man, a hardworking guy.” He added:

“He came here to provide the best for his family, you know as all of us do, the American dream. But this is not the American dream. It’s a shame. This is supposed to be the best season, the Christmas season. It’s a family thing. These things shouldn’t be happening. It’s a big shock for all of us.”

According to reports, six people have been killed in Gage Park so far this year, which is almost a 50 percent decrease from the amount of murders the community had during all of 2020. 

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Chicagoland: At least 23 shot, 9 murdered, cops ambushed, delivery driver shot in the face – all this weekend

December 6th, 2021

CHICAGO, IL – The onslaught of violent crime continued throughout the first full weekend in December as several people were killed and wounded during the chaos across the city.

The city saw a reported 23 people having been shot with at least 9 of those that have succumbed to their injuries. Four of those victims were under the age of 18.

The first homicide of the weekend was reported on December 3rd when a verbal argument turned deadly.

Chicago Police reported that a man pulled a gun on the victim who was sitting on his porch and opened fire, striking and eventually killing the man before fleeing.  

In another incident, a delivery driver for an unnamed company had pulled over to the side of the road in the area of 45th Street and Ashland Avenue when he was shot in the face twice. The Chicago Police Department did not release any information as to the motive in the shooting. The victim was transported to Mt. Sinai Hospital where he was amazingly listed in good condition.

The violence continued in other areas, including the city’s downtown area known as the Loop.

The Loop is an area of the city that has several shops and other festivities that are designed to bring people in, spend their money, and most importantly, feel safe.

However, the area is far from safe as it has been the scene of mass civil unrest and violence as recently as July of this year.

On December 4th, Chicago Police officers were called in once again to reign in chaos and disorder in the loop as fights and shootings lead to the arrest of 21 people.

The Chicago Police Department reports that at least two of their officers who were trying to restore order were injured, one of them with a broken arm.

The violence seemingly started when a Chicago Transit bus driver stopped to inspect his bus on North Michigan Avenue after hearing a loud noise.

When the bus driver was searching to find the source of the noise, an unknown male and female allegedly began attacking him. The Chicago Police Department reported that the victim was transported to a local hospital with what appear to be non-life-threatening injuries.

The Chicago Police Department reported that a 15-year-old was taken into custody for that violent attack. The police did not name the suspect in the case but did advise that he was charged with aggravated battery of a transit employee and disorderly conduct.

In another unrelated incident, a 15-year-old was walking down Wabash Avenue when he allegedly accidentally bumped into someone who was walking in the opposite direction. Both got into a heated argument which led to the person who was bumped pulling a firearm.

The suspect then allegedly shot the teenager in his wrist. The teenager was transported to a local hospital where police said he is listed in good condition.

One of the visitors to the area, Tracy Baldwin, spoke to ABC7 and noted that the area is no longer safe for people to visit. She said:

“Being from Chicago, you always thought this was the safest place in the city to be, but these last few years have been really, really rough. Always ceases to be amazed by some of the crime activity that’s still happening down here.”

Remarks like Baldwin’s should get city leader’s attention because if people feel unsafe to walk that area, they will not be spending their money there. If they do not spend their money in that area, those businesses will eventually leave.

Lightfoot, in addressing the situation, blamed the uncontrolled violence in the city on the parents of those who were committing crimes. Her thought is that if parents do their jobs with their children, the violence will stop. She said:

“These kids have to take responsibility, but I’m going to say the parents have to take responsibility. Do you know where your kid is? Are you making sure that you’re talking to your children about how they should act in a large crowd?”

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

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Chicago: 54th person so far this year arrested for shooting, killing or trying to kill someone while on felony bond

CHICAGO, IL – Chicago’s uncontrolled killing spree this year is being partially fueled by pretrial release of felons as evidenced from the arrest this week of a man who opened fire on a truck driver earlier this year.

 

Armonii Russell, 24, became the 54th person accused of killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony. A total of 76 victims are involved in those crimes, according to a report in CWB Chicago.

Russell was arrested on a warrant for attempted murder this week for opening fire on a truck driver during a road rage incident on the Dan Ryan Expressway on April 27. At the time of the shooting, he was on bail awaiting trial for a firearm charge and manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance.

Before ordering Russell held without bail for the shooting, Judge Maryam Ahmad said:

“This court knows of no other offense more threatening to public safety than shooting at a vehicle on a highway.”

 

Russell is charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated discharge of a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

In an event captured on the truck driver’s dash camera, Russell’s vehicle sideswiped the trucker while the two were merging into traffic. Russell then pulled in front of the trucker and “brake checked” him repeatedly, according to Assistant State’s Attorney John Gnilka

Russell then displayed a handgun out the window of his vehicle and fired four shots through the trucker’s windshield. Thankfully, the driver was not struck by the gunfire.

The suspect then fled the scene while the trucker and a witness called police. Prosecutors said police used the truck’s dash camera video to obtain Russell’s license plate and other evidence to help identify him.

An arrest warrant was obtained for Russell in November, and police almost nabbed him earlier this year. During that arrest attempt, police observed the suspect entering his BMW and tried to take him into custody. The suspect managed to flee the scene but left behind a handgun and clothing that police used for DNA evidence.

The Chicago Police Department finally caught up with Russell this week during a traffic stop in the city.

In an increasingly common scenario in the “Windy City,” Russell was on bail for a felony when he committed the shooting. He had been released on just $2,500 bond for allegedly carrying a 45-caliber handgun while selling drugs in a South Side Laundromat in January.

The felon also had a pending grand larceny case in Las Vegas, Nevada, when he was released, according to Gnilka.

 

Chicago has been suffering from a violent crime spree and reduced police numbers this year. The problems are being exacerbated by the “Defund the Police” movement and liberal policies calling for limits on the use of cash bail and judges and prosecutors permitting violent offenders and felons to receive pretrial release.

A Loyola University study designed to show the success of bail reform has found the opposite. The report shows that Cook County’s controversial limits on the use of cash bail caused more crime on the streets of Chicago and resulted in fewer defendants showing up in court.

In the report, scholars Don Steman and David Olsen found that, controlling for a range of factors, bail reform led to the release of roughly 500 defendants who would otherwise have been detained. They also estimate that, both before and after reform, roughly 17 percent of released offenders committed a new crime, including three percent who committed a violent offense.

The report found:

“(Bail reform) had no effect on new criminal activity or crime.”

 

However, the report found that if 500 additional people were released under bail reform, and the same share of released individuals re-offended, then the total number of crimes in Chicago would rise. The New York Post explained:

“It’s a mathematical fact: More offenders multiplied by a constant crime rate equals more crimes. Using precise figures from the paper, the 9,200 individuals released following reform committed roughly 1,573 crimes and 294 violent crimes. If only 8,700 offenders had been released, they would have committed 1,488 new crimes and 278 violent crimes.

“In other words, the release of just 500 people led to roughly 85 additional crimes, including 16 additional violent crimes.”

Adding to the problems of bail reform, the study determined that such measures caused more offenders to fail to appear for court proceedings or trial.

The study found that there was a significant increase in the failure-to-appear rate, rising from 16.7 percent to 19.8 percent. This results in police, especially Chicago officers, having to serve more high-risk arrest warrants.

As of November 28, there have been 792 homicides in Chicago this year. In all of 2020, which saw riots and anti-police violence across the city, there were 730 homicides during the entire year. In comparison, there were 501 homicides in all of 2019.

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

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