Legislation Aims To Change School Culture
A measure that would limit the way schools hand out discipline has made its way through the Illinois legislature and is awaiting Governor Bruce Rauner's signature.
The plan, pushed for more than a year by a Chicago youth organization called VOYCE, would change the way schools handle discipline. Zero-tolerance policies and disciplinary fines would be banned. Suspensions and expulsions could be used only as a last resort.
Sarah Johnson, one of the youth leaders of the group, said the plan is designed to change the culture of schools.
“Our education system should be wanting us to stay in school and right now they’re pushing us out of school,” she said. "So the environment that we’re in, that our young people are in right now, is not an environment of learning. It’s an environment of push-out.”
Rep. Ron Sandack, a Downers Grove Republican, spoke in support of the measure.
“This is a best practices mandate, if you will," Sandack said. "It’s a requirement that the state tells the schools to go through a process before making the ultimate decision on rather extreme punishment for children.”
The measure applies to neighborhood schools and charter schools. It passed both legislative chambers with bi-partisan support.
If signed into law, it would take effect in September 2016.