Illinois state representatives and officials with the Illinois Education Association (IEA) are working together to make sure schools in the state are following the law when it comes to preventing violence.
With a rise in reports of violence in Illinois schools, state reps are now working on new legislation with the IEA, asking all school districts in the state to comply with the state’s school safety laws immediately.
The main law the state reps and the IEA are focusing on is the School Threat Assessment Bill from 2019. It requires schools in Illinois to have threat assessment teams and threat assessment protocols. School districts were given a deadline to comply with the bill by 2020. New legislation will double check that all districts are indeed in compliance.
“We are getting reports of increased violence in our schools from our members all across the state,” said Kathi Griffin, president of the IEA. “We need to take immediate action to keep our students, our staff and our communities safe.”
“We hear, every day, more stories, unfortunately, about incidents in our schools,” said Rep. Tony McCombie from Savanna, Ill. “We need to keep our kids safe. We need to keep our teachers safe.”
The rise in violence could become prevalent here in the Quad Cities. Last week, police departments and school districts identified a total of six threats made to Quad Cities schools on social media. Three of them were in Illinois. The threats have some Quad Citizens concerned about things getting worse.
“Last week, something happened. ‘OK, cool, now I’m the type of kid that I want to fit in, so I think people might think it’s cool if I make a threat,'” said a resident of East Moline. She described how she thinks school threats may spread.
The resident adds that her friend’s children have received violent threats from classmates recently. They almost turned deadly.
“I just had a niece get out of the hospital for trying to take her own life because somebody told her to kill herself and they’ve been bullying her,” the resident said. “If my best friend didn’t walk out of her bedroom to go to the restroom, she would not have a daughter.”
Griffin adds that being two weeks removed from the shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan makes the need for new legislation even more significant.
“What happened in Michigan two weeks ago is a tragedy,” Griffin said. “We need to make sure that we are doing everything we can to prevent that from happening in Illinois.”