Illinois Senate committee passes bill aiming for racism-free schools

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — Illinois Senate Democrats hope a new piece of legislation will create racism-free schools across the state.

Sen. Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) introduced a bill this spring requiring all Illinois schools to create, implement, and maintain at least one written policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment against students based on race, color, or national origin.

This proposal also bans retaliation against students who submit complaints to school administrators.

“This is a bill that would define racial discrimination, prohibit it in schools, and provide an avenue for some restitution and correction of that behavior,” Murphy explained Tuesday.

The Illinois Department of Human Rights would start a model training program to prevent discrimination and harassment in elementary and secondary schools. 



The Illinois Department of Human Rights would start a model training program to prevent discrimination and harassment in elementary and secondary schools. 


IDHR Director Jim Bennett told senators that his department is fully committed to protecting students and teachers against hate crimes and racial discrimination within schools. Bennett explained his agency has worked with the State Board of Education, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Illinois Association of School Boards and Pritzker administration to ensure the plan works with the structure and language of current state statute.

“I will say there are no easy answers to racism or bullying. This bill is a start, and I’m so thankful for all who have worked on it,” Bennett said. “I truly believe the vast majority of our teachers, our administrators, and our schools want and our trying to do the very best thing for our students.”

Senate Bill 90 passed out of the Senate Education Committee on a 11-3 vote. The plan now moves to the Senate floor for further consideration. 

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May 2, 2023 at 07:40PM

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