Statement on School Bus Incident

Dear Friends,

As you may already have heard, on Friday evening  at 5:33 pm, a school bus transporting 32 Christ the King Jesuit College Prep students back to school from their Corporate Work Study jobs downtown was caught in crossfire less than a mile east of our campus. The bus was not targeted, but rather struck by a stray bullet. That stray bullet grazed the bus driver’s head and passed through the bus. All of our students, and our Jesuit Volunteer who was chaperoning, are safe and none of them were injured.

As always, the safety and well-being of our students is our primary concern. Our thoughts and prayers were immediately with the driver, who was taken to the Mount Sinai Hospital and released Friday night with minor injuries. The driver is not a CTK employee, but an employee of our contracted bus service, the Sadie Transportation, Inc., yet he is nonetheless a member of the broader CTK Family.

School administrators were at the scene quickly, where police were on site taking statements from the students.  Parents, many of whom were waiting for the bus at school, rushed to the scene were allowed to take their students home once the school administration and the police cleared them to leave. We sent a shuttle to bring the remaining students back to the school. Our student were commuting back from their work study jobs downtown as part of our Corporate Work Study Program.

Our administration followed our written crisis management plan and our students were exceptional throughout this incident. We are a safe school community and committed to doing everything in our power to support our students as they process this incident. On Friday evening, members of our school administration spoke to each student on the bus and let them know that we had counselors and other resources in place for them.

At times like these, it is a blessing that we are first and foremost a community of faith. This morning, we began the day, as we do all days, with a prayer of gratitude. We prayed for the driver and the community and in deep gratitude to God for delivering everyone safely from this shocking ordeal.

This morning, we were joined by counselors from Cristo Rey, Chicago Jesuit Academy, Saint Ignatius College Prep, Saint Ignatius College Prep, and Loyola Academy, who were on hand to meet with every student and our counselors will continue to be available to assist our students and families in dealing with this incident for as long as they are needed. We have made adjustments to policies, procedures, and even bus routes to further enhance our students’ safety and security.

We are grateful for the countless messages of support and prayers that we received over the weekend from around the country and even from Fr. Paulson, S.J., in Rome.  

It is tempting to rationalize events like this by saying that the bus was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is the fallacy, of course. The bus was exactly where it was supposed to be – crawling westward on Jackson Boulevard, making its way back from work, like so many other westbound workers commuting at 5:33 pm. It was in the right place at the right time, maybe even a little ahead of schedule in Friday afternoon traffic.

The bullet, the shooter, the violence: these are the things that were in the wrong place at the wrong time. 3,000+ shootings. Too many guns. Too little regard for life. Too little hope. These are contributing factors to making it the wrong place and this, the wrong time.

Open to growth. Loving. Religious. Intellectually competent. Positively work experienced. Committed to doing justice. These are the six characteristics that we strive to cultivate in our graduates at graduation as part of a Jesuit, Catholic, college prep education.

Our students. Our school. Christ the King Jesuit College Prep is in the right place. This is the right time.

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. Unique. Individual. Separate. Segregated. I stay in my neighborhood and you stay in yours. It’s easy to remain detached. These problems are problems in those neighborhoods. They are not my problems. The key is when we realize that we all could have been on that bus. These are all our children. We are all one city. We are all on that bus. Only then can change happen.

Please continue to pray for all the children in our city, for their safety, and an end to violence.

God bless,

Clement V. Martin



P.S.  – For news coverage of this incident, click here.



Christ the King Jesuit College Prep, a Catholic school on Chicago’s West Side and a member of the Cristo Rey Network, challenges and inspires its young women and men through the integration of academics, work experience, and extracurricular activities to lead lives of integrity, faith, and servant leadership for the greater glory of God.