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10 New Illinois Laws That Will Soon Impact Schools, Students and Education Across the State – NBC Chicago


At least 19 of Illinois’ nearly 200 new laws set to go into effect in 2023 will directly impact schools, students, staffers and education as a whole throughout the state.

The laws range from adding certain lessons or curricula to adding programs for certain grades to creating a confidential hotline for students and staff to strengthening penalties inside a school driving zone.

As the new year approaches, here’s a look at 10 of the more than a dozen new state laws that will soon affect what goes on inside school walls and on school property.

SB2109: School Board Members Must Be ‘Trauma-Informed’

Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, in addition to at least four hours of required leadership training and professional development in education labor law, financial oversight and accountability, and fiducial responsibility of a school board member, this new law states that school board members and superintendents must also complete a State Board of Education course in trauma-informed practices for students and staff.

According to the bill, the training may include, but is not limited to, the recognition of and care for trauma among students and staff, the effects of trauma on student behavior and learning, the prevalence of trauma among students and those at higher risk of experiencing trauma, and more.

HB3296: Schools Must Establish College, Career Readiness For 6-12th Graders

HB3296 states that school boards must, no later than July 1, 2025, establish a career and technical education pathway program for students in grades 6 through 12.

The bill goes on to say that that the framework must “prepare students enrolled in grades 6 through 12 to make informed plans and decisions about their future education and career goals, including possible participation in a career and technical education pathway, by providing students with opportunities to explore a wide variety of high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand career fields.”

SB3936: Establishes a “Safe2Help” Hotline for Students, School Staff

This bill requires the state of Illinois to create a “Safe2Help” hotline where students, school staff and other members of the public can confidentially report information regarding “potential self-harm and criminal acts directed at students” and school employees.

Language in the bill states that Illinois State Police is responsible for oversight and operation of the hotline, and that it must be operational and available 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year.

More details on the helpline can be found here.

SB3972: Creates Program For Students to Work in the Intellectual, Developmental Disabilities Field

This new law modifies the current school code by adding that beginning in the 2025-26 school year, the State Board of Education must create a program for high school students to work in the intellectual and developmental disabilities field in an educational setting.

SB3793: Adds Penalties For Drivers Who Violate Laws in a School Driving Zone

This bill adds community service as a penalty for failing to stop for a school bus that is “receiving or discharging pupils and has displayed visual signals,” or for speeding in excess of 20 miles per hour or more in a school zone or while traveling on a roadway on public school property or where children pass to go to and from school.

SB4028: Adds to Mental Health to State’s Health Education Curriculum

This new law says that Illinois’ “Comprehensive Health Education Program” must include information and education about how and where to find mental health resources and specialized treatment in the state.

The bill also creates a mental health council that works to figure out how to help students find a mental health provider, how to access the mental health system, and puts lessons and teachings about mental health into school curriculums.

HB4201: Requires Higher Ed Institutions to Designate a Benefits Navigator For Students

House Bill 4201 states that the Board of Trustees for Illinois’ public universities and community colleges must designate a “benefits navigator” who can assist students determine benefit eligibility and how to apply, as well as identify “campus wide and community resource support.”

The bill also states that universities must develop an internal process that allows students to provide feedback on how the school can better assist students in “determining eligibility for benefit programs and applying for assistance under benefit programs.”

HB4580: Evaluation of CPS High School District Boundaries

House Bill 4580 states that at least once every five years, Chicago Public Schools’ high school district boundaries should be “re-evaluated based on demographics and enrollment.”

Some of the factors reviewed and evaluated would include income level within boundaries, travel time and distance to school and more.

The bill states that a written report of findings from the Department of School Demographics and Planning must be submitted to the school’s board and CEO, and made public on the district’s website “within 30 days after its completion.”

HB5193: Requires Schools to Teach About Safe Gun Storage

This new law states that “safe gun storage” instruction must be added to the state’s safety education curriculum in “all grades.”

The state’s current safety instruction covers topics like automobile safety, traffic regulations and the consequences of alcohol.

HB5488: Allows Middle, High School Students An Excused Absence to Participate in a ‘Civic Event’

House Bill 5488 states that any public middle or high school student will be permitted at least one “day-long excused absence from school to engage in a civic event.”

According to the bill’s text, a “civic event” is defined by an “event sponsored by a non-profit organization or government entity that is open to the public,” and can include “an artistic or cultural performance or educational gathering that supports the mission of the sponsoring non-profit organization.”

Full List of New Laws

For a full list of laws that will go into effect in 2023, click here.

This content was originally published here.

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