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Illinois Education Association calls school districts, leaders to take action amid increased violence in schools

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WREX) — The Illinois Education Association (IEA) is calling on school districts that aren't adhering to school safety laws in the state. 

President Kathi Griffin made the announcement Wednesday. 

In 2019, the state legislature passed House Bill 1561, known as the School Threat Assessment Bill. 

Here's a look at some of the things the law does:

  • Instructs 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 the 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.

The IEA is now partnering with two state lawmakers to sponsor new legislation that will ensure school districts are complying with the requirements in the School Threat Assessment law.

The call to action comes following a deadly mass shooting at school in Michigan earlier this month. 

“What happened in Michigan two weeks ago is a tragedy. Every incident where someone in a school is injured at the hand of another is heartbreaking,” said Griffin. “Violence is increasing in our schools across the state. Our educators should not have to constantly worry about their safety and the safety of their students. This is not their problem to solve. They’re under enough stress already. School administrators need to take immediate action to keep our students, staff and communities safe.”

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