Maywood police vow to prosecute Proviso East High School brawlers

300 PEHS students allegedly involved; videos go viral


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By Jean Lotus


Maywood police Friday vowed to continue the investigation and arrest and question everyone involved in a massive 300-student brawl that spilled from Proviso East High School on the last day of school May 31. Maywood Police Chief Tim Curry said at least ten students were arrested that day, including a 14-year-old girl wielding two chef's knives who had been previously knocked down and stomped by other students.

Curry said another girl was struck over the eye with a lock and two others received minor injuries. The three injured students were taken to Loyola Medical Center. More than 40 officers from neighboring agencies were called to the scene including Oak Park, Forest Park, Westchester, Bellwood and Broadview. Sheriff's police were also summoned.

"We are very lucky it was fists and feet only," Curry said Friday afternoon. "If it had been a gang incident there might have been weapons."

The fights were recorded on cell phones by students and posted on Youtube and Facebook. The video went viral, showing up on Chicago news reports on channels 5 and 7 and in the Chicago Tribune. Nationally the Huffington Post and Drudge Report websites both ran the story and linked to raw video.

According to the Cook County Sheriff's office, the fights began in the park across the street from the school and in the streets surrounding the area at 9:30 a.m. when school was dismissed for the last day.

But Proviso Township High School District 209 released a statement June 7 criticizing media coverage and asserting that the events happened at Ninth Street and Madison, where the videos were filmed.

"District officials were not made aware of the fighting that occurred until later in the day, since it occurred off campus and falls outside of the district's jurisdiction," the statement said. The district's statement also downplayed the number of students involved, numbering the participants as "several students" and asserting that "other adults and former students joined in the disturbance."

"We take safety and security of our students, staff, and school environment very seriously," the D 209 statement continued. "That is the reason that extra procedures were put into place to ensure a smooth end of school year at Proviso East. Our school year ended without any incident, and we are very pleased to report that."

Curry said the Maywood police commonly make their presence known after school at First Ave. and Madison Street on a daily basis to escort students home, or wait until crowds dissipate.

"We were caught by surprise when school got out at 9:30 in the morning," Curry said.

Curry said the melee tied up police for hours. "The aftermath brought us into several hours, processing the arrested students and finding their parents. We lost much of the day because of this."

The fight is still under investigation and detectives are unsure if it spontaneously occurred or was the result of possible online planning. He said he didn't think it was a gang-related fight.

Curry expressed gratitude to neighboring police departments for coming to the aid of Maywood officers. "The sheer size of the event was challenging," he said.

"There were 300 or more kids involved and many of those kids were involved in the fight or egging it on," he said.

"Many of these kids we arrested were not the fighters," Curry said. "They were charged with obstructing the police or disorderly conduct because they wanted to stick around after we told them to disperse. Instead of going home or trying to stop the fight, some decided to film the fight and put it all over Facebook," Curry added.

Friday Curry said parents needed to make sure they were in communication with their children, "If you see a fight, don't stop and egg it on. That's just feeding the fight. You tell your kids to walk the other way."

Curry, who's retiring next month, said the matter was not the school's fault, but poor choices the students were making, and the lack of support from parents.

He said the Maywood Police works with the school district to refer students to social services to help students learn to "de-escalate aggression and learn different means of dealing with conflict."

Curry said videos will be examined by police to identify the brawlers.

"We will get everybody, I'm sure of that," Curry said.

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Really? from Forest Park  

Posted: June 18th, 2013 12:22 PM

"[E]xtra procedures were put into place to ensure a smooth end of school year at Proviso East." Like not informing the police that school was getting out early? It is very clear this will NOT be discussed in any Proviso administration conference room or the D209 board room. "Our school year ended without any incident, and we are very pleased to report that." They are just peeing all over themselves they are so happy and proud. Wow.


Posted: June 13th, 2013 11:50 AM

The most unfortunate part of this whole discussion is that all the people who could and should be responsible for the change that needs to happen ARE NOT READING THIS. Until this discussion is began in the board room, the conference room, the dinning room, etc....these issues will go no where.....


Posted: June 12th, 2013 2:01 PM

Also. what are and ( ARE NOT ) the staff at EAST sating and doing regarding problems there?


Posted: June 12th, 2013 1:58 PM

If we all honestly take a realistic look back into the history of EAST as many call the school today we will see why things are the way they are there. Also why the situation there will not improve much any time soon sad to say. We all must be realistic about PROVISO EAST.

Michelle W. from FP  

Posted: June 12th, 2013 1:00 PM

@Katie Agree that it doesn't seem like we're far apart, here. There's no excuse for bad behavior by anyone, and I just think that some of the commenters early on especially could also reel it in. This incident didn't happen in a vacuum, but is a consequence of our society and requires better than righting them all off. There is a systemic problem that is bigger than PE and if we spent less time blaming bad parents and more time seeing the bigger picture we'd be better off. I think, anyway.


Posted: June 12th, 2013 1:25 AM

What a disgrace to humanity at these idiots acting like rabid animals! Don't point fingers at media... everyone is wise enough to know right from wrong. Parents need to be held accountable for their disrepectful children's actions. Proviso is a joke... these kids don't want to learn as shown they rather harm one another for fun... go do that elsewhere because I'm tired of paying my hard earnd money on taxes to see crap like need to become something in life rather then a convict!

Katie Hull Redmond from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 5:50 PM

Stomping on another person's head, wielding a butcher knife, and shouting "shoot that b***ch" are unacceptable behaviors in any society. Human Decency 101. We may have all grown up with different opportunities, but values are a different story. Teenagers should have the basic decency to not beat and kill each other. I wonder if other schools with similar problems have support for parents - the idea has legs.

Gina Thomas from Forest Park  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 5:20 PM

Let's assume it is all the parents fault. Maybe as a community we should be looking for ways to lift these parents up, then? Let's say you guys are right...the kids are evil...their parents are what? Execution? WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? I feel like everyone needs a basic sociology lesson. Poverty breeds crime etc. Everyone is here judging folks as if they were raised with the same opportunities/values you were. Again, basic sociology...

Bob Cox from Forest Park  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 4:43 PM

District 209 is the same as District 91, OPRF, and many other schools in that they are governed by school code and are legistimized to levy taxes by State of Illinois law . I cannot think of one model in the state that weighs voter input as the sole driving force. Public education is not a failed institution PTHS suffers from failed systems and organizational failure.If people could pass this hurdle the outcomes would change Perception is reality

Concerned from Forest Park  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 4:00 PM

Well said, Katie. Thank you.

Katie Hull Redmond from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 3:18 PM

Michelle, we're not that far apart. There are plenty of idiotic comments on these boards, including suggesting "Maywood should implode". It was not my comment or my point. I agree that the kids of PE need support and understanding, not derision. Where I differ with some posters is WHERE that support should come from. It needs to come from the parents, the school board, the superintendent, the principal, etc. It's not up to Jerry, Bill, Edward, etc. to create a road map ?" that is the job of the administrators. They are paid to do exactly that BY US. I have my own job to do, that I get paid for. In between that, I have another job. And I'm a parent who volunteers and school, sports, at church, and community organizations. Should I go volunteer and mentor at PE? Really? Anyone who knows me will tell you my husband and work our a**es off 24/7 AND spend plenty of time with our kids. Raising and educating all children in the community properly is the most important job we collectively have and I'm doing my part. As they move up, I will move along with them. Are enough PE parents and administrators doing absolutely everything they can to benefit the children? To fix what is clearly broken?


Posted: June 11th, 2013 2:57 PM

As a taxpayer, I would not miss Proviso if it disappeared 'under the dome'. And perhaps it could include Maywood as well. And sorry to those that think the parents are overworked and don't have time for the kids. Sorry, you chose to have them; they are yours to raise! Although it appears quite a few aren't doing a very good job.

Michelle W. from FP  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 2:54 PM

@Katie Take a look a the first comments on this article. They are flippant and do nothing whatsoever to tie politics to the fight in anything resembling a cogent argument. They do, however suggest that "Maywood should implode" and that this was a joke. They were replied to in kind. I differ with Cox on a lot of things, but he's right that the kids of PE need support and understanding, not derision. Wishing jail or implosion for these folks won't solve a thing, which has been my point.

watcher from FoPa  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 2:37 PM

@ Bob Cox- You've been in Proviso Township your whole life. Can you tell me the last time voter input was formally sought for *anything* regarding D209? Instead, Ten communities are played against each other to perpetuate control over D209 spending. PT residents don't fear D209, it's the other way around. You say you want solutions? They'll never come from within. Why, as a board member, didn't you push for a vote on D209's continuation as a failed institution?

Concerned from Forest Park  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 2:24 PM

@Natalie. Ability of a parent to be involved is not a privilege, it is a DUTY. If you don't want the responsibilities of parenthood, don't become a parent. My spouse & I DO work 10+ hrs/day, volunteer in 3 community organizations, & still make it a priority to be involved with our 3 kids, including school, sports, & social. Parental involvement doesn't guarantee kids will be good, but it greatly increases the odds. @Michelle W, don't play the race card. No one else even hinted at race or class.

Katie Hull Redmond from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 10:17 AM

At Bob Cox and others trying to excuse the behavior in this video - please tell us (and probably the authorities too) if you have additional information as to the who/where this fight took place. 300 students involved - think about that. That is not just a small part of the student body. Whether this incident is an accurate representation of PE's student body or not, it's enough for me to say my kids are not going to that school. Also, I see you comment a lot about what others aren't doing, but what are you doing? From what I've seen, you defend the current system which is clearly broken,while refusing to acknowledge the simple viewpoint that residents are tired of giving our money to a school that is not a good educational choice for our children. The current administration wants people to do a whole lot of listening and understanding (how difficult it is for some parents to raise their children, for example), but they don't return the favor. We don't want to pay for this mess anymore. Why is that so difficult to understand?

Teach209 from Hillside  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 8:35 AM

An example of how the politcs of seven have ruined the lives and possibly the lives of thousands. Collins Hart has worked hard to not get her hands dirty, collect her pay, and use school time for her job search. She is responsible for hiring weak administrators for East/West. She, as well as the board, fail to visit the schools they are charged with making decisions for. How can you know that your schools have problems if you only visit them during homecoming, photo ops, and inservices?

209Teach from HiIlside  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 8:29 AM

The blame lies with parents, the BOE and the Supt. the low scores and poor behavior of 209 students. The Board/ Supt. make the ultimate decisions regarding curriculum and discipline and have failed. The board needs to look at uniforms, stricter discipline/ academic expectations, and residency checks. We are willing to pay weak adminstrators but fail to provide money to hiring more teachers, security/truancy officers. 209 is a prime example of how politics ruin a school district.

Bob Cox from Forest Park  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 8:14 AM

@ watcher from FoPA Your comments are very accurate, I am guessing you are a teacher who knows something about sociology. PTHS schools were cast off decades ago and became minority accomodation schools.Expectations are vital.The jibber/jabber I read in this discussion take far too much liberty of who and where this fight occured and make absurd cause and effect comments. I also appreciate the folks who know the difference bewteen talking about a problem and actually doing something.

Michelle W. from FP  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 7:33 AM

@Bill, that's a strawman. I have not said that D209 critics are at fault. There is a horrible example of leadership in Welch who fostered a culture of decisions based on politics rather than what is best. But the comments on THIS article have pointed the finger at parents. I detect a subtext of racism or MAYBE classism. If lack of guidance is the problem, and you are someone who doesn't use violence as a means to make a point, go be an inspiration to the kids.

jerry from forest park  

Posted: June 11th, 2013 3:21 AM

Natalie, I see you are one of the touchy feely types, parenting is not a privilege it is a duty. You bring them into the world you better be ready to take care of them. I worked 12 to 16 hours a day for years and I made time for my kid. These kids are taught this behavior at home, the lucky ones get past it, most don't. As for bad kids got news for you they are out there. Wake up and smell what you are shoveling.

Bill from Melrose Park South  

Posted: June 10th, 2013 10:32 PM

Michelle W., are you serious? Commenters here are "embarrassing the rest of FP by besmirching the kids" of D209? REALLY? Did you view the social media videos posted by the witnesses of that girl getting stomped by five or six young thugettes? Are you saying the critics of D209 policies and practices are at fault for that? It's on TAPE, lady. The only "besmirching" here is by the parents and students of D209. I'm just one among many who are sick of paying for the putrid, malfunctioning D 209 mess

watcher from FoPa  

Posted: June 10th, 2013 8:36 PM

@ Michelle- bad platform for serious comment. @Natalie- Nurture/Nature? I'd say the kids at East learn exactly what is thought of and expected of them. Parental involvement? Doing what? With what? Cheerleading for the Proviso Way? It's not just broken, it is FAILED and the kids know it. The schools are being run to be good enough for THEM.

Natalie from Forest Park  

Posted: June 10th, 2013 7:57 PM

Also, those "bad kids" did not start out that way. Those kids are part of a broken system. Yes, they are making bad choices that are now all their own, but they did not start out that way and "getting rid of them" will not really fix any problems. I find it so interesting that so many Forest Parkers are so quick say: "They're bad parents and bad kids." Why? Because it's easier. If the kids are bad, then there's really nothing to change except "implode the area" as one commenter said. Sad.

Natalie from Forest Park  

Posted: June 10th, 2013 7:48 PM

Parental involvement IS a complex issue when you're a single or two parent home, working two jobs to try to put food on the table. Concerned and Jerry, you're both acting as though these parents sit at home and do NOTHING and let their kids do whatever they want, not caring one bit. I'd like to see how involved you would be if you worked long, odd hours while making barely enough to support YOUR family. Consider your ability to be involved as a privilege.

Concerned from Forest Park  

Posted: June 10th, 2013 11:52 AM

Michelle W states, "Parent involvement in schools is a complex issue." Well, it shouldn't be. A parent's #1 job is to raise their kids, and that means being involved with them. It is not the government's job. Unfortunately though, it has become so, as some parents choose not to raise their own kids. A main problem is the breakdown of the family, and especially the lack of fathers in kids' lives. And there are many, many societal factors that are related to that.

jerry from forest park  

Posted: June 10th, 2013 11:21 AM

Michelle, I can not make some one take responsibility for their kids. I went to school functions, talked to teachers and helped with homework, as did other parents. The parents of these kids do not care and their kids are paying for it as are the rest of us. Every one pays lip service to the problem, get rid of the trouble makers would be a good start, because there are bad kids out there.

Taxpayer from Forest Park  

Posted: June 10th, 2013 10:10 AM

Michele, as someone who grew up with parental involvement...I'll tell that parents being involved is key. We all knew that if we did something that could or would get back to our parents, it wasn't going to matter what the school did as our parents were going to whip the crap out of us! The kids today do not fear school or parental punishment. Something is definitely wrong with that!

Michelle W. from FP  

Posted: June 10th, 2013 9:29 AM

[Watcher drops the mic, walks off stage.] Parent involvement in schools is a complex issue that doesn't boil down to people being "bad" or "unloving" parents. If you suspect parental involvement is the main issue I challenge you (Jerry, Bill, Edward, etc.) to help create a road map to engagement or hang up your commentary equivalent of armchair quarterbacking. Right now you're just embarrassing the rest of FP by besmirching the kids.

Edward P from Forest Park  

Posted: June 9th, 2013 8:25 AM

Oh Billy you are still silly even in the morning hours. Continue to stay in touch.......with yourself. Go collect some more data for the miners, it might produce something besides nothing.

Bill from Melrose Park South   

Posted: June 8th, 2013 10:08 AM

Eddie clearly does his most profound thinking after midnight.

Edward P from Forest Park  

Posted: June 8th, 2013 12:34 AM

BTW silly billy, when you come up with a coherent thought of your own, not simply regurgitating on line data which for all practical purposes is meaningless, I might consider seeing your way, but for now you are the only person with all the blather. You remind me of the song stroking.

Edward P from Forest Park  

Posted: June 8th, 2013 12:28 AM

Oh Billy you are so silly. Stay in touch.......with yourself.

Bill from Melrose Park South  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 6:32 PM

"Right now he is just part of the problem." Typical Eddie Pee nonsense. The only part I play in D209 is sending them nearly $2,000 a year that they waste like the fools they are. The problem isn't the critics, Pee. The problem is incompetent and corrupt people blindly loyal to the Proviso way. Back up all your verbal blather, Pee. Tell us all what actual, concrete ideas do YOU have? None, I'd guess.


Posted: June 7th, 2013 12:54 PM

I see Sommerfest was moved to May 31st....Sad


Posted: June 7th, 2013 10:28 AM

So EdwardP, what are you doing besides spouting off? We'd all be interested in hearing how you are helping.

watcher from FoPa  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 10:07 AM

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." Eleanor Roosevelt

Edward P from Forest Park  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 8:54 AM

BTW at least Bob Cox is trying to do something. Billy boy only does nothing except for laying blame on others and talking about political hacks. Talk is cheap and Billy boy has plenty of cheap talk. The institution that Bob Cox is trying to help is a much large rproblem than one person can change. If people like Billy boy spent less time regurgitating and spent more time actually doing something he could be an addition to the solution. Right now he is just part of the problem, all talk no action

Edward P from Forest Park  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 8:48 AM

The data that Billy boy posted is certainly informational but does nothing to fix the problem, typical of a die hard do nothing. Whenever, and if ever good people begin to stand up and get involved and only then will anything positive occur.

Concerned from Forest Park  

Posted: June 6th, 2013 9:49 PM

Chief Curry is retiring next month, so no longer has to be politically correct and can say how he has seen it all his years with his comments about parents: "The matter was not the school's fault, but poor choices the students were making, and the lack of support from parents." "Every day the Maywood Police are trying to control other people's children. At some point parents have to come and say 'these are our kids and our responsibility.'"

Gina Thomas from Forest Park  

Posted: June 6th, 2013 7:13 PM

Random: my nephew attends a small public high school outside of Nashville. I attended his graduation a couple of weeks ago and of the 75 or so students graduating, 1 was not white. On the last day of school (or the day before, I can't recall) they ALSO had a huge fight. My nephew was involved and was expelled. It nearly caused him not to be able to graduate. He is a handsome high school football star from a loving working class family. How do you know if these kids are loved? Crazy assumptions!

jerry from forest park  

Posted: June 6th, 2013 6:29 PM

Diane & Michelle, what happens at PESH happens because no wants to do anything about it. It has been that way for years, no one cares about these kids including most of their parents. The Bob Cox's of the world pedal fake fix's that don't do anything. If you have a disruptive elememt then you remove it, the rest get the message.


Posted: June 6th, 2013 6:15 PM

Basically they antagonize one another through social media (facebook) 24/7. #1 reason is over a boy/girl. #2 gang conflicts regarding turf/drug selling locations. Often post evidence of their crimes on facebook then get caught. Just your average american teenagers!


Posted: June 6th, 2013 4:48 PM

Nothing to see here!!!

Bill from Melrose Park South  

Posted: June 6th, 2013 3:41 PM

From 2012 ISBE report cards: .... OPRF spends 49.8% of budget on instruction; D209 spends 40.2%......OPRF spends 14.9% on "other," D209 spends 19.3%...... OPRF spent $10,524 for instruction on each student. D209 spent $5,547..... OPRF ACTS scores? ... Composite 24.5 to D209's 15.5; English for OPRF 24.9 to D209's 13.9; Reading 24.7 to D209's 15.3; Math 24.1 to D209's 16.1. That's perhaps because OPRF bothers to pay an average of $102,893 a teacher, while D209 pays $63,215.


Posted: June 6th, 2013 2:53 PM

@Diane, I would like nothing better than Proviso to be worth the tax $$ I pour into it! However, with the school falling somewhere at the very very bottom ranking for the state, perhaps you could tell us all how many students went on to MIT? How many are ever even allowed into the National Honor Society (compared to a school that is actually teaching)?

Jean Lotus from Forest Park Review Forest Park Review Employee

Posted: June 6th, 2013 2:37 PM

Ken, You are correct. Events occurred Friday, May 31.

Ken from Naperville  

Posted: June 6th, 2013 2:29 PM

The last day of school was Friday, May 31------so when did this actually happen?

Diane from Forest Park  

Posted: June 6th, 2013 1:14 PM

Forest Park residents- you are all so quick to comment and blame the school and the students and even to say the area should be imploded- that is the perfect example of Racism in action. As a recent graduate of PEHS I am disgusted by how quickly you dismiss the school and how the Forest Park Review and it's residence focus on the negative. How about the students who go to MIT or U of I and get Masters? It is disgusting that an entire town continues to perpetuate the negativity!

Michelle W. from FP  

Posted: June 6th, 2013 11:42 AM

Really. At least Bob Cox is trying to help. If you commentators are all such upstanding citizens leading exemplary adult lives, go prove it already and volunteer to be a mentor or something to the youth of PE.

Bill from Melrose Park South  

Posted: June 6th, 2013 9:47 AM

Another shing example of "Proviso Rising." School officials didn't bother notifying the cops and when serious problems erupted, they didn't bother to inform parents. That's what hack political oversight gets you.

Matt on Madison  

Posted: June 6th, 2013 9:28 AM

So the girl at the beginning of the video thats getting her her head pounded in gets arrested. Hopefully they got the ones that beat her.

asd from Chicago  

Posted: June 5th, 2013 10:41 PM


jerry from forest park  

Posted: June 5th, 2013 10:29 PM

I am sure Bob Cox will tell youn how wonderful the school is and these kids are just misunderstood. 300 plus students, that's what 15 to 20 percent of the student body, wonderful.

Resident from Forest Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2013 8:33 PM

Proviso high and Mayeood should just be imploded! All those punk pants hanging morons should all be forced to work jobs and hike their pants up. Why didn't the school alert the police about the early dismissal? Seemed like an accident waiting to happen; kids off of school and most likely unsupervised for the rest of the day with nothing to do but cause trouble. Geez, so sick of paying into this horrible school. Make parents accountable.

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