Parents say Queen of Martyrs principal was placed on administrative leave for making masks optional

The principal of an Evergreen Park Catholic school was placed on administrative leave one day after sending a letter to school families notifying them of his decision to let the school go mask-optional, parents from the school said.

Principal Jacob ‘Doc’ Mathius of Queen of Martyrs Catholic School was reportedly placed on leave Tuesday.

In a letter to school families Monday, Mathius wrote that beginning Tuesday, wearing a mask would be optional for faculty, staff and students.

"While I have not arrived at this decision without a tremendous amount of thought and reflection, and in the face of what I expect to be swift retribution by the Office of Catholic Schools in the form of termination from my position as Principal, I have made this decision in what I believe to be in the best interest of our students and their families," said Mathius.

Glenview parents protest mask policy at the largest Catholic school in the Chicago Archdiocese

Mathius went on to say that he believes the COVID mitigations and protocols have become more toxic than the actual virus.

"I have reached this determination as I perceive….as I have for some time now…that the social-emotional toll that continuing COVID protocols have taken on many of our students have become more toxic than the COVID virus itself," said Mathius.

Masks would still be made available at the school to any student, staff or faculty member that would prefer to wear them.

"For those members of our school community that favor wearing a mask as I and a number of my faculty and staff do, we will continue to support that preference and will continue to maintain a supply of masks for easy access at any time," said Mathius.

He ended his letter by stating this may be his last "official communication" with Queen of Martyrs' families.

"I cannot predict what the future might hold, but…at least at this moment…I am in a position to control what I can control in regards to this question, and what I can control is relieving the burden of children wearing a covering over their faces," said Mathius.

Parents lined the streets near the school on 103rd Street and Central Park Avenue Tuesday afternoon in support of Mathius.

Prior to being the principal at Queen of Martyrs, he served at Brother Rice High School for 43 years.

Mathius is also a veteran of the United States Navy Reserve.


The news of this leave comes just days after a Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge issued a temporary restraining order against Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s requirement that masks be worn in schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The judge ruled Friday that the Democratic governor had overstepped his authority in an emergency order that had required students and staff to wear face coverings.

The Archdiocese has not yet commented on this developing story.