The Price Kids Pay

A Teen Was Ticketed at School for a Theft She Says Didn’t Happen. Years Later, She’s Still Fighting.

The Illinois student’s long ordeal shows the extraordinary effort it can take to overturn a school-related ticket. Her case — involving a missing pair of AirPods — is heading to a jury trial.

Reporting From the Midwest

Our team in the Midwest covers Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri. Based in Chicago, it grew out of our first regional publishing operation, which focused on people living and working in Illinois. Read more.

This Land Was Promised for Housing. Instead It’s Going to a Pro Soccer Team Owned by a Billionaire.

More than 30,000 people wait for homes from the Chicago Housing Authority. Meanwhile, a site that’s gone undeveloped for two decades is set to become a Chicago Fire practice facility.

Unguarded

Shielded From Public View, Misconduct by Corrections Staff in Illinois Prisons Received Scant Discipline

At least 18 corrections employees abused or used excessive force against incarcerated people in Illinois, according to internal corrections investigations. They all remained on the job.

How Missouri Helps Abortion Opponents Divert State Taxes to Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Abortion foes praise the nonprofit centers for supporting women and presenting alternatives to ending pregnancies, but supporters of abortion say the facilities mislead women by appearing to offer clinical services and unbiased advice.

Local Reporting Network Partners

ProPublica is supporting local and regional newsrooms as they work on important investigative projects affecting their communities. Some of our past and present partners in the region:

Chicago Tribune
Chicago, Illinois
The Southern Illinoisan
Carbondale, Illinois
WBEZ
Chicago, Illinois
The Daily Herald
Arlington Heights, Illinois
The Business Journal
Youngstown, Ohio
Outlier Media
Detroit, Michigan

Help Us Learn About Sheltered Workshops in Missouri

Illinois Will Investigate Possible Civil Rights Violations in Student Ticketing

The Illinois attorney general’s office said it is trying to determine if a suburban Chicago school district violated students’ civil rights when police ticketed them for minor misbehavior.

Daniel Taylor Was Innocent. He Spent Decades in Prison Trying to Fix the State’s Mistake.

He was in police custody at the time of the murders, but a dubious confession led to his wrongful conviction while Chicago police and prosecutors turned a blind eye to inconvenient facts that eventually exonerated him.

The Hypnotherapist and Failed Politician Who Helped Fuel the Never-Ending Hunt for Election Fraud in Wisconsin

How obscure retiree Jay Stone played a crucial, if little-known, role in making Wisconsin a hotbed of conspiracy theories that Democrats stole the state’s 10 electoral votes from Donald Trump.

Illinois Will Stop Helping Cities Collect Some School Ticket Debt From Students

Since a Chicago Tribune-ProPublica investigation, school officials say they’re reevaluating when to involve law enforcement in student discipline.

Lawmakers Demand Action on Child Welfare Failures

Calls for improved access to mental health and substance abuse treatment follow reporting by ProPublica and The Southern Illinoisan on the large number of parents investigated repeatedly by Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services.

Black Students in Illinois Are Far More Likely to Be Ticketed by Police for School Behavior Than White Students

Federal data has shown Illinois schools suspend and expel Black students at disproportionate rates. Now we know it’s happening with tickets and fines, too.

Wrongly Convicted Man Receives $7.5 Million Settlement in Indiana

In 2018, the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica reported on major flaws in a prosecution in Elkhart, Indiana. Years later, the city expressed regret and agreed to pay the man millions.

Illinois’ Education Chief Urges Schools to Stop Working With Police to Ticket Students for Misbehavior

Responding to a ProPublica-Chicago Tribune investigation, Illinois’ schools superintendent says ticketing students hurts children and their families.

Schools and Police Punish Students With Costly Tickets for Minor Misbehavior

Illinois law bans schools from fining students. So local police are doing it for them, issuing thousands of tickets a year for truancy, vaping, fights and other misconduct. Children are then thrown into a legal system designed for adults.

What We Lose When We Conflate Child “Abuse” and “Neglect”

Growing up in Southern Illinois, I knew many children whose basic needs went unmet. Reporting here decades later, I began to wonder why the system wasn’t doing more to help their families.

The State Took His Kids Three Times. And Three Times It Gave Them Back.

In Southern Illinois, many families suspected of neglect cycle through the child welfare system. Too often they don’t get the help they need.

Detroit City Council Calls on Michigan’s Largest Utility to Pause Shut-offs, Explain Its High Electricity Rates

The council resolution follows revelations by Outlier Media and ProPublica on the high number of DTE customers whose accounts were disconnected during the pandemic.

What Wisconsin’s Increasingly Partisan School Board Races Reveal About American Elections

As traditionally nonpartisan school board campaigns become polarized battlegrounds, voters in next week’s Wisconsin races may set the tone for how contentious races across the country will become this year.

St. Louis’ Murder Total Has Fallen, but Some Killings Went Uncounted

St. Louis officials are celebrating a big drop in murders while the city’s police classify more and more killings as “justifiable homicides” instead.

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