“How our schools discipline our children is one of the most significant predictors of our state’s future.” - State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D - Chicago Heights)

4-2-ReportCardRSPRINGFIELD – Has your child been suspended? Expelled? Arrested? Do a large number of students at your child’s school receive severe disciplinary action that keeps them out of the classroom on a consistent basis? According to State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights), it is high time our state started taking solutions-oriented steps to keep our kids in school, while staying out of trouble.

“How our schools discipline our children is one of the most signification predictors of our state’s future,” said Sen. Hutchinson.

Legislation passed the Senate today that would require the Illinois State Board of Education to provide a comprehensive report on school discipline by October 31, 2015. The report must include data on the issuance of out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, and removals to alternative locations, broken down by race and ethnicity, gender, age, grade level, limited English proficiency, incident type and discipline duration. The report must also provide information on the use of on-campus arrests or criminal citations, again taking into account race and ethnicity, gender and age.

School districts identified by the state board as being in the top quartile in terms of arrests or racial disproportionality in the number of arrests will have to provide a school discipline improvement plan to reduce the number of harsh penalties keeping kids out of school and forcing them onto the streets.

“We need to identify those schools that are in the most need of disciplinary reform and allow them the opportunity to identify the best way to reduce the use of the harshest disciplinary actions,” said Sen. Hutchison. “I know we can find methods that positively influence a student’s behavior and avoid resorting to slating them with a criminal record.”

Senate Bill 2793 now awaits a vote in the House.

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