SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To provide school districts with more resources to address mental health issues that arise in the classroom, state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, passed legislation that is now heading to the governor’s desk.
“After the shootings that took place across the country this year, we have seen the impact that these shooting have had on students across the country and in our own community,” Manley said. “This is just one of the many reasons why my Women’s Legislative Advisory Committee continues to have serious conversations about improving mental health services in our schools. These two pieces of legislation came from the concerns shared by the passionate women in this committee.”
Manley’s bills were created to give teachers and school districts more tools to help students process and express their emotions. Manley’s House Bill 4657 creates the Emotional Intelligence Task Force, which will develop age-appropriate curriculum and guidelines to teach students how to process difficult experiences. Her other measure, House Bill 4658, requires school districts to include professional development training for teachers to provide them with techniques to help students in elementary and high school through emotionally distressing times.
“Bullying, current events and situations at home can impact how our children learn and perform in the classroom,” Manley said. “This means that teachers often become counselors, but, too often, they don’t have the proper tools or training to help their students. This situation is made even more difficult when not all schools have social workers and counselors to support teachers in their efforts. This legislation is designed to help bridge this gap.”