CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed a law to protect students across Illinois by banning cyberbullying outside the classroom. The new law, which builds on previous legislation banning cyberbullying in schools, will help ensure that Illinois’ students aren’t bullied through electronic means whether they are at school or home. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure the safety of students in every community across Illinois.
“Bullying has no place in the state of Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “Every student should feel safe from harassment, whether that’s in the school hallways or when using the internet or a cell phone. In our technology-driven age, bullying can happen anywhere. This new law will help put an end to it.”
House Bill 4207, sponsored by State Representative Laura Fine (D-Glenview) and State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), prohibits bullying of students through technology outside the classroom or school. The law applies to devices not owned or used by a school, and requires a school’s anti-bullying policy to include an investigation for any act of bullying that causes a disruption to a school’s operations or educational process. This legislation expands on previous legislation signed by Governor Quinn which banned cyberbullying of students within schools. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2015.
“Children need to understand that whether they bully a classmate in school or outside of school using digital devices, their actions have consequences,” Representative Fine said. “Students should not be able to get away with intimidating fellow classmates outside of school. I will continue to work with school officials, parents and students to create safe learning environments for our children.”
“A safe, supportive environment is vital for students’ learning and growth,” Senator Silverstein said. “This law gives educators more tools to discipline and prevent out-of-school cyber bullying when it hurts others’ ability to learn at school.”
Governor Quinn has taken a strong stance against bullying in all forms. He recently signed House Bill 5707, which requires all public schools to develop and implement an anti-bullying policy. He signed a law that expands the definition of bullying, requires gang prevention training in Illinois schools and created the School Bullying Prevention Task Force to examine the root causes of bullying. The Governor also signed a law that allows the Chicago Board of Education to develop a program to establish common bonds between youth of different backgrounds and ethnicities.