04192018CM0592VILLA PARK — A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers led by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is working to protect students from predatory educators.

Cullerton filed Senate Bill 3620 this week in response to a Chicago Tribune investigation that showed 72 Chicago school employees were accused of sexual misconduct over a 10-year period without proper reporting from the schools to authorities.

“This is a catastrophic failure, and we have to do everything we can to prevent something like this from happening again,” Cullerton said.

The investigation showed Chicago Public Schools conducted shoddy background checks which led to the hiring of educators with red flags in their records. Several went on to commit abuses at CPS schools and many were hired again elsewhere even after being investigated.

“Our children should feel safe at school,” Cullerton said. “My wife and I have three sons. We want to be concerned about their test scores, not whether there are predators employed in the buildings where they study.”

The bill aims to remedy several shortfalls exposed in the investigation. The Tribune found that Chicago Public School districts do not have a standard protocol for investigating reports of sexual misconduct.

In response, Senate Bill 3620 puts in place several preventative measures, including immediate reassignment to non-classroom duties for an employee that is under investigation by the Illinois Superintendent of Education.

The bill also requires school boards to report all credible cases of sexual assault or abuse to the State Board of Education and establishes a hearing procedure for student victims. The

ISBE would also be required to monitor the school background check process throughout Illinois.  
To ensure predatory educators or employees don’t bounce from school to school, the bill also makes it easier for school districts to warn the public and others of the fired employees’ behavior.

It does so by amending the Freedom of Information Act to allow school districts to disclose investigative findings to other districts if an employee was disciplined or fired for sexual abuse. In addition, it requires any arresting agency to report an arrest of a licensed educator to the superintendent of the school that employs the educator.

“By closing these loopholes we not only protect our children, we take the first step in restoring the trust in our public schools which are so vital to the success of our state,” Cullerton said.

The bill would also make it a criminal offense for any school authority figure to engage in sexual relations with a student, regardless of age.

The measure is sponsored in the House by State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills).

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338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
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