By: Brittany Flaherty Theis

In August, legislation addressing school safety was signed into law in Illinois. Public Act 97-1104 amends both the School Code and the Juvenile Court Act of 1987. Effective January 1, 2013, law enforcement officers can share information with school officials if they believe there is an imminent threat of physical harm to individuals on school grounds. Such information is to be shared orally and kept separate from a student’s official school record. The report will not include written law enforcement records. Further, the information is to be used only by school officials with a legitimate educational or safety interest in aiding in the student’s rehabilitation and protecting the safety of students and employees in the school.

Specifically, Public Act 97-1104 lists circumstances where law enforcement officials will orally share information regarding “a minor who is the subject of a current police investigation that is directly related to school safety.” Public Act 97-1104 provides that appropriate school officials will be notified “only if the agency or officer believes that there is an imminent threat of physical harm to students, school personnel, or others who are present in the school or on school grounds.” Both the prior version of the Juvenile Court Act and the amended version list specific violations that fall under the reciprocal reporting system established by the School Code. Additionally, Public Act 97-1104 provides that any information provided to school officials shall be shared only with those determined to have a legitimate educational or safety interest. The information shall be used “solely by the appropriate school official or officials to protect the safety of students and employees in the school and aid in the proper rehabilitation of the child.” The information shall be kept separate from and shall not become a part of the official school record of the child. It is not be a public record.

Should you wish to have your policies reviewed in light of this legislation, please feel free to contact one of Whitt Law’s attorneys.

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