CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by Chicago Hornets hockey player Tyler Woodworth to sign a new law that will help public school student-athletes with disabilities. Woodworth is the young athlete who prompted the legislation that will help students participating in organized adaptive athletics programs around the state. The action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure all people have equal opportunities and empower people with disabilities.
“People with disabilities who participate in adaptive sports should be given the same consideration as all other athletes," Governor Quinn said. “Now, young athletes like Tyler will be able to have more academic flexibility and focus more of their learning time on classes they need to prepare them for college and a career.”
Senate Bill 2157, sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) and State Representative Emily McAsey (D-Lockport), allows school districts to excuse students from their required physical education classes if those students are involved in organized adaptive athletics programs. State law already allows the exemption for students who participate in interscholastic athletic programs, marching band, or certain other activities.
The legislation was prompted by Lockport Township High School student Tyler Woodworth, who had been unable to enroll in a computer design course because of his full schedule and his required participation in physical education classes. Now, as a member of the Chicago Hornets youth sled hockey team for youngsters with disabilities, he will no longer be required to take P.E. and can instead concentrate on courses that will advance his career upon graduation.
“This law promotes equality in our schools,” Sen. Cunningham said. “We need to ensure all of our students have the same opportunities.”
“This measure promotes physical activity while encouraging academic success,” Rep. McAsey said. “The new law gives students with disabilities who regularly participate in physical activity greater flexibility in choosing their courses. It was a privilege to work with Tyler and help his idea become law.”
The new law takes effect immediately.