House Bill 4994 Passes House and Senate, Heads to Governor’s Desk
SPRINGFIELD – House Bill 4994 (HB 4994) passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly and is now awaiting Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature. The legislation, initiated by the Illinois Education Association, would track which school districts are not in compliance with the Illinois’ School Threat Assessment Law. Rep. Fred Crespo (Hoffman Estates-D) and Rep. Tony McCombie (Savanna-R) worked with the IEA and are sponsoring the bill.
“Unfortunately, during the pandemic, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the amount of violence in our schools,” said Griffin. “We need our school district administrators to be following the law and keeping our schools safe. Our teachers and school support staff should not have to worry about their own safety and the safety of their students. When this bill becomes law, it will hold our school districts accountable and make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep our schools and communities safe.”
In 2019, the Illinois Education Association initiated, and the state legislature passed what’s known as the School Threat Assessment Law.
The law does several things:
- 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 partnered with Crespo and McCombie to sponsor HB 4994 to ensure school districts are complying with the requirements in the School Threat Assessment law.