SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Dagmara “Dee” Avelar, D-Bolingbrook, is prioritizing safe schools with a new law empowering school boards to hear sensitive information in a more private setting when considering matters of student and faculty safety.
“The safety of our students, our teachers, and our community schools is paramount, but some of the most pressing safety matters—such as domestic abuse and stalking situations—are also some of the hardest things for people to talk about in public,” Avelar said. “We need to make sure everyone feels safe to discuss these concerns. That’s why this law allows for more private discussions that will empower people to bring these sensitive matters before a school board.”
While school board meetings are typically open to the public, sensitive situations involving student discipline and personnel matters are able to be discussed in a private session. Avelar’s House Bill 2447 gives school boards the ability to also meet privately regarding safety situations in which an individual may need to be barred from school activities or grounds to protect a student, a teacher, or to the entire school population. This ensures a student, parent or staff member with information that is relevant to their safety or the school’s safety can share that with the board in a more private setting.
The school board would make a public report after the meeting, detailing the board’s decision and reasoning but keeping personal information private.
The bill passed the House with a bipartisan majority. It was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on July 28.