Pictured above, from left to right: Dr. Richard Kirchhoff, DDS, AFSP-IL Board Chair and National AFSP Public Policy Council Chair; Anne Gulotta, AFSP-IL Board Member; Alyssa Relyea, AFSP-IL Board Member; Rachelle Jervis, MBA, AFSP Illinois Area Director; Illinois Representative Kelly Cassidy (14th District - Chicago); Steve Moore, Esq, AFSP-IL Board Secretary and Advocacy & Policy Committee Chair; and Chuck Roper, AFSP-IL Board Member.
At 10am on Thursday, June 26th, 2014, Governor Pat Quinn signed a new bullying prevention bill (HB 5707) into Illinois law. The AFSP-Illinois Chapter (AFSP-IL)has been working hard to support this bill and pushed for it at our most recentState Capitol Day in Springfield on April 10, 2014.
According to the new law, a school’s bullying prevention policy must now include a standard bullying definition, a statement that bullying is contrary to state law and school policy, a procedure for promptly reporting bullying, and procedures for promptly investigating and addressing reports of bullying. Policies must also include a procedure for informing and discussing restorative measures with parents or guardians, methods of intervention, a statement prohibiting retaliation against individuals who report bullying, and the consequences for falsely reporting bullying.
In addition to the above requirements, bullying prevention policies will now be required to be posted online, included in the student handbook, and distributed to parents, guardians, students, and school personnel annually. Every 2 years, schoolsmust conduct a review and re-evaluation of their policies on bullying and make appropriate changes.
AFSP thanks Governor Quinn, Representative Cassidy, and the bill’s many supporters for coming together to better prevent bullying in Illinois schools and provide all students with a safe environment to learn and develop their full potential.