SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To encourage civic engagement among young people, state Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, passed a bill that provides an excused absence for middle and high school students to engage in a civic event.

“Illinois’ young people are more civically engaged than ever before,” said Harper. “This behavior creates passionate, educated citizens and schools should do everything in their power to encourage it.”

Because of school attendance requirements, a school can punish students for missing school to participate in a march, protest or demonstration. House Bill 5488 provides any child from a public middle or high school an excused absence for at least one full school day to attend a civic event. A school board may require that students provide advance notice of the absence and require that the student display documentation or proof of attendance.

“Attending a march, protest or demonstration teaches lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom,” said Harper. “I’m proud to have passed this law that helps young people stand up for what they believe and reach their full potential.”

House Bill 5488 passed the Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday, March 3, and heads to the Senate for consideration.

Rep. Sonya HarperRep. Sonya Harper

6th District

Visit Rep Harper’s website

Springfield Office:
274-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5971

District Office:
4926 South Ashland
Chicago, IL  60609
(773) 925-6580
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