CICERO, Ill. — State Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez, D-Cicero, inspired by the research and tenacity of Naperville Central High School graduate Braden Hajer, passed a law requiring media literacy education for high school students in Illinois. Illinois is the first state in the country to have such a requirement.

“So many Illinoisans rely on social media as their primary or even sole source of news and other important information. Given this trend, it’s more important than ever that young people learn to discern truth from fiction and facts from misinformation,” Hernandez said. “I am tremendously proud of Braden and his teacher, Seth Brady, for their collaboration on this legislation. Their hard work has helped make Illinois a leader in media literacy education, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with them.”

Now law, House Bill 234 requires a unit of instruction on media literacy that includes lessons on how to access information, evaluate media messages, create media, reflect on media consumption and explore one’s social responsibility to ethically consume media. Hajer inspired House Bill 234 while taking a Humanities Capstone, a research-based class following the Illinois Global Scholar model that requires students to take action to affect real change. Braden met with legislators and testified multiple times in support of the law.

“I sort of had to grow into the role of ‘the advocate,’” Hajer said. “I’m not an outgoing person by nature, but you can’t just manifest the governor’s signature on the bill of your dreams. It takes elbow grease.”

The bill, signed in July 2021, took effect with the 2022-2023 school year.

Rep. Lisa HernandezRep. Lisa Hernandez


24th District

Visit Rep Lisa Hernandez website

Springfield Office:
109 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8173

District Office:
6117 West Cermak Road
Cicero, IL 60804
(708) 222-5240
(708) 222-5241 FAX