Illinois lawmakers hope to improve student discipline with new school procedures | Featured stories

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – State lawmakers could approve a plan in the final weeks of the session to improve student discipline procedures. This comes as many teachers and administrators across the state have asked for help addressing school safety.

The Illinois State Board of Education could be required to draft and publish guidance for developing reciprocal reporting systems between schools and law enforcement.

This measure requires ISBE to publish guidelines for the reengagement of students suspended, expelled, or returning from an alternative school setting.

“There is a lot going on in our schools,” said Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood). “We want to make sure the kids are there learning and getting the best education possible. But we also want the teachers and the administration, the entire building, to feel safe and feel like it’s an institution for learning.”

Sen. Willie Preston (D-Chicago) told colleagues he’s not proud to admit he missed 68 days of school during eighth grade due to frequent suspensions. He noted that out-of-school suspensions disrupt the lives of many students.

“I think with this particularly thoughtful measure it will give an opportunity for these children to be redirected before they have the opportunity to be sent to our penal systems or worse,” Preston said.

Lightford explained that his bill would also require new guidance for school bus safety and evidence-based intervention procedures starting July 1, 2025.

Senate Bill 1400 passed unanimously in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday afternoon. The plan now goes to the full Senate for further consideration.

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