PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – The Illinois Education Association is calling on lawmakers and school districts to take action on increased violence in schools.
IEA President Kathy Griffin said increased violence is happening in schools and districts need to immediately comply with the state’s school threat assessment law.
The law which was passed in 2019:
- Instruct schools to develop a threat assessment team and a threat assessment protocol.
- Expands the use of the 1-cent county sales tax to include school safety improvements, school resource officers, or mental health professionals, or allow a district to issue bonds, borrow money or find other ways to pay for similar needs.
- Requires school districts to implement a threat assessment procedure that may be part of a school board policy on targeted school violence and prevention, which must include the creation of a threat assessment team made up of specific people.
- Calls for each district to review each school building’s emergency and crisis response plans, protocols and procedures and the make-up of its team.
- Requires each district’s assessment team to include mental health professionals as well as representatives from state, county, and local law enforcement agencies.
Wednesday, a trailer bill sponsored by Illinois State Rep. Fred Crespo (44th District-D) and State Rep. Tony McCombie (71st District-R) would track which districts are following the law.
Griffin said with violence on the rise, efforts to make school’s safer can’t wait.
“What happened in Michigan two weeks ago is a tragedy. Every incident when someone in a school is injured at the hand of another is heartbreaking and we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to prevent that from happening in Illinois,” Griffin said.
She added that factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic have played a part in increased violence.
“Having interrupted school, the past two years has definitely impacted social skills that so often go unnoticed by the public, but are so embedded in what we do in our schools every single day,” Griffin said.