Online Staff Report
The Illinois Senate Education Committee, Thursday, May 15, sent an anti-bullying bill to the full Senate, asking for quick action in sending it to Gov. Pat Quinn (D) before the May 31 end of the spring session.
The measure, HB5707, was introduced in the House by Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, and sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago. It passed the House last month by a strong bipartisan vote of 64-43. Thursday, the Senate Education Committee approved it on a bipartisan 10-4 tally.
The bill enhances state anti-bullying policy by writing a comprehensive state standard to be implemented by school districts. It requires schools to have an anti-bullying policy in place, investigate cases of bullying, and create a yearly report of incidents.
The bill was also sent to Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans.
“We need to strengthen anti-bullying efforts in Illinois by creating standards that all school districts must follow,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. “All students should be able to go to school in a safe and welcoming environment. The measure received bipartisan support when it passed the House; let’s make sure it passes with the same in the Senate.”
Cherkasov urged Illinoisans to seek a commitment from their state senators to cosponsor the bill and then vote yes before the scheduled May 31 adjournment of the General Assembly.