Illinois State House District 44 issued the following announcement on Aug. 28.
A new law from state Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates, will provide school districts with additional tools to avert misconduct by educators and prevent the hiring of individuals with criminal records.
“There is no more important job as a legislator than to protect children and keep their learning environments safe,” Crespo said. “This legislation will help prevent the series of unfortunate cases we’ve seen recently by implementing a comprehensive approach to address gaps in the law that have put the safety of students at risk.”
Crespo worked on Senate Bill 456 with a coalition that included the Chicago Public Schools, Children’s Advocacy Center, the Illinois State Board of Education, school management groups, and teachers unions. Crespo’s measure, which was recently signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, will require schools to check sex offender and violent offender databases every five years for all employees, ban schools from knowingly employing people who have been found to abuse or neglect children and allow the state to suspend a teacher’s license if they are charged with violent or sexual offenses. Additionally, the new law will ensure that children who experience abuse at schools are interviewed by professionals at Children’s Advocacy Centers.
“There’s nothing more important than ensuring school safety for our students, teachers and staff. That’s why we are grateful to Representative Crespo for his work to bring everyone together to strengthen the protections in our schools,” said Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery.
“This legislation will ensure that every child who experiences sexual abuse by a school professional will be treated in a trauma-informed way, ensuring professionals at children’s advocacy centers are involved from day one to make victim’s needs a priority,” Char Rivette, Executive Director of Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center said.
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