CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to crack down on bullying in Illinois. The bill will help protect Illinois students from bullying both inside and outside the classroom. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure the safety of students in every community across Illinois.
“Intimidation and fear have no place in Illinois’ schools,” Governor Quinn said. “Every student in Illinois deserves to go to a school where they feel comfortable and safe. This new law is for all students who have been bullied but didn’t know where to turn. Our schools will now set comprehensive anti-bullying standards for all districts so we can help students succeed inside and outside the classroom.”
House Bill 5707, sponsored by State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) and State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), requires all public schools to develop and implement an anti-bullying policy. The policy must include a definition of bullying, procedures for the reporting of bullying, parental notification, the investigation of reports of bullying and actions that may be taken to address bullying. The new law is effective immediately.
“I heard from parents all over the state whose kids had been bullied and they had gotten no support from schools,” Representative Cassidy said. “It’s clear we were not doing enough, and this new law is a major step in the right direction.”
“Schools must give more than lip service to protecting kids. Learning can’t take place in an environment where students are not taught and expected to treat one another with respect,” Senator Steans said. “Students need to know where to go for help when they are bullied, and they need assurance that adults at school will support them and work to resolve the issue.”
Governor Quinn has taken a strong stance against bullying. He has signed legislation that expands the definition of bullying, requires gang prevention training in Illinois schools and created the School Bullying Prevention Task Force to examine the causes of bullying. The Governor also signed a law that allows the Chicago Board of Education to develop a program that establishes common bonds between youth of different backgrounds and ethnicities. The program may be modeled after the Challenge Day organization which has a mission to address issues like bullying.