New law adds safeguards to protect Illinois students

HB 1975, also known as Faith’s Law, was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday, Dec. 3, in Springfield.  

The legislation adds safeguards by expanding the definition of grooming in the criminal code, increasing resources and protections for sexual abuse survivors and their families and requiring school districts to develop a sexual misconduct code of conduct, review employment history, and increase training for educators. 

The legislation closes a prior loophole and expands protections for students by expanding the definition of grooming to include acts performed in-person, through direct communication or a third party, or written communication. 

Under previous law, grooming only included internet-based communication. 

The law requires the Illinois State Board of Education to create a parent resource guide.

The guide would serve as a centralized source of assistance and provide resources available to the parent or guardian of a student who is or may be the victim of sexual abuse. 

Schools are required to notify parents of the guide at the start of each school year and provide copies to parents by request.  

Educators will also receive training on the physical and mental health needs of students, student safety, educator ethics, professional conducts and other topics regarding students’ well-being. 

This is designed to help teachers and staff identify misconduct while being aware of how to best support students. 

School districts are also required to develop an employee code of professional conduct policy that addresses grooming and other forms of sexual misconduct. 

Districts are required to post the policy on the school’s website and in any handbook provided. 

A violation of that policy would subject an employee to disciplinary action, including termination of employment.  

HB 1975 has various effective dates.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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