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Illinois Bill Introduced to Stop Schools From Calling Police on Students for School Infractions

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Cook County Defense Lawyer

In 2015, Illinois passed a law that prohibited schools from using fines as a form of discipline for students. Unfortunately, school officials have worked around that law by reporting students directly to law enforcement, who then write out tickets to the referred students for violations such as littering, fighting, littering, possession of vaping devices, using offensive words, theft, and other violations.

Last year an investigation into the practice by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica revealed just how rampant the practice is. That investigation has led makes to consider a bill that would amend that 2015 law to make it illegal for school officials to continue this practice. If passed, the proposed law would forbid schools from involving police for issues that can be addressed using the institution’s or district’s disciplinary process.

The Investigation

The investigation conducted jointly by the two publications found that almost 12,000 students were ticketed by police for alleged violations committed at school from 2020 through 2022, despite the fact that for a good chunk of that time, students were being taught via distance learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some tickets were for as much as $750 for alleged behavior that should have been addressed by the principal or other school authorities.

The investigation also found there were racial disparities with this practice. The data revealed that Black students were ticketed almost 60 percent more than white students.

New Bill

A follow-up to last year’s investigation by the Tribune and ProPublica shows that this practice is still happening, despite the issues raised by lawmakers, child advocates, and others over those results. During the past two months, reports for the organizations have obtained ticket information for 37 out of the top 60 ticket-issuing schools and have found that 70 percent of students in these schools have received tickets from law enforcement for school infractions.

The new bill would only prohibit school officials from calling the police over school infractions. It is not meant to keep police from arresting students for actual crimes. It would also not prevent schools from seeking restitution for any damage a student has done to school property.

Contact a Cook County Defense Lawyer for Legal Help

If your child has been issued a violation for a school infraction, or has been charged with any type of crime, contact a Skokie juvenile defense lawyer to find out what legal options there may be to defend against these charges. Call The Law Offices of Matthew R. Gebhardt, P.C. at 847-239-4703 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.




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