In response to alarming findings about sexual assault by faculty and staff in schools, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) advanced House Bill 3687 on Tuesday, which requires the State’s Attorneys across the state to immediately notify school officials when a school employee is accused of harassment or assault.
“Our children should be safe at school,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This measure ensures school administrators have all of the facts in order to make decisions in the best interest of students. If an accused school employee or educator has direct contact with students, steps will need to be taken to change that.”
House Bill 3687 requires the State’s Attorney to provide school administrators with a copy of the complaint, indictment, or other information pertaining to the charges.
Last summer, as the Senate’s Education Chair, Bertino-Tarrant called a hearing to address the findings of a Chicago Tribune investigation which detailed improper reporting of sexual misconduct in Chicago schools. The investigation found 72 Chicago Public Schools employees were accused of misconduct over a 10-year period and not properly reported to authorities.
“It is unacceptable that sexual predators were not only near our children, but in positions of trust,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Everyone should be outraged that these abusers were able to prey on students because of insufficient oversight.”
The Chicago Public Schools and the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance are in support of the measure.
House Bill 3687 passed the Senate’s Education Committee with bipartisan support and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.