New Amendments to Illinois Bullying Prevention Statute Now In Effect
In early June, Governor Pritzker signed Public Act 103-0047 into law. This law, which went into effect on June 12, 2023, included several amendments to the Illinois bullying prevention statute, 105 ILCS 5/27-23.7.
The Illinois legislature added language that explicitly prohibits bullying on the basis of physical appearance, socioeconomic status, academic status, pregnancy, parenting status, and homelessness, which were categories that previously were not listed.
In addition, and of critical importance to school administrators, schools are now required to have procedures in place to inform parents or guardians of any alleged incidents of bullying that their student may be involved in, or instances of self-harm determined to be the result of bullying, within 24 hours after the school administration is made aware of the students’ involvement in the incident or self-harm. The school must make diligent efforts to notify parents or guardians, including by utilizing all contact information the school has available or that can be reasonably obtained by the school within 24-hours.
The new legislation further clarifies that bullying procedures and policies must be posted on a publicly accessible page of the school’s website. As a reminder, the school’s official policy on bullying should be based on the ISBE template for model bullying prevention policy and include the criteria set forth in the definition of “policy on bullying” in 105 ILCS 5/27-23.7(b). Every school district, charter school and non-public, non-sectarian school is required to maintain a policy on bullying.
Lastly, school districts, charter schools, non-public school, and non-sectarian schools are now required to collect, maintain, and submit non-identifiable data regarding verified allegations of bullying to ISBE on an annual basis. The first report is due by August 15 starting with the 2024-2025 school year through the 2030-2031 school year. ISBE will adopt rules regarding the submission of this data.
While this alert discusses most of the new requirements regarding a school’s bullying prevention responsibilities, the responsibilities previously in place regarding bullying prevention and policies remain in effect. If you have any questions regarding the new requirements mentioned in this article or any of the other requirements under Illinois bullying prevention statute, please contact one of the authors of this alert or any Franczek attorney.