(The Center Square) – Illinois school officials are now required to notify parents and guardians of any cases of bullying within a 24-hour period.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the measure into law despite opposition from numerous school groups who said the time period is not feasible, including the Illinois Principals Association and Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools.
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, said if not addressed promptly, bullying can lead to tragic results.
“There are studies that found that adolescents who experienced this kind of cyber bullying are four times as likely to have suicidal thoughts,” Feigenholtz said.
Mark Klaisner, president of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, said the 24-hour deadline is unrealistic.
“I could come up with 20 different scenarios where that doesn’t happen in 24 hours,” he told The Center Square.
During debate in the General Assembly, state Sen. Seth Lewis, R-Bartlett, said 24 hours is not enough time to conduct an investigation into the report.
“There are those who are legitimately bullied and there are those who use it for attention, and I don’t know if 24 hours is enough time to discern the difference,” Lewis said.
The law also requires that schools develop bullying prevention policies based on recommendations provided by the Illinois State Board of Education as well as collect, maintain and submit data regarding allegations and instances of bullying to the state agency.