A group of laws signed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn hope to make the state's schoolchildren safer and healthier.
House Bill 5013 requires public and registered nonpublic schools to make statistics on immunizations and health exams publicly available. The hope is to make it easier for parents to see how many of their kids' classmates are not vaccinated and to boost vaccination rates.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, over 60,000 students (three percent) were not compliant with immunization or health exam mandates during the 2010-2011 school year. House Bill 5013 goes into effect on January 1.
House Bill 1473 is effective immediately and will let the Chicago Board of Education implement a program to help students from different backgrounds foster new levels of empathy and respect for each other, with the goal of decreasing bullying.
Finally, Senate Bill 3259 will create the Commission for High School Graduation Achievement and Success with the hope of boosting high school graduation rates. The commission will review alternative education programs in both Illinois and other states, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Learning Exchanges, the Illinois Pathways Initiative, and other programs that help keep at-risk teens in school. The commission will then submit a report to the governor and General Assembly. The report is due by November 1 and the law is effective immediately.
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