Schools Now Required to Report When a Student Poses a “Clear and Present Danger”
The Firearm Concealed Carry Act, Public Act 98-0063, which became effective July 9, 2013, contains a new reporting requirement for school principals of which all school districts and private schools should be aware. Under the new “School Administrator Reporting of Mental Health Clear and Present Danger Determinations Law,” 430 ILCS 66/100 et seq., the principal of a public elementary or secondary school, or his or her designee, as well as the chief administrative officer of a private elementary or secondary school (or a public or private community college, college, or university), or his or her designee, is now required to report to the Illinois Department of State Police when a student is determined to pose a clear and present danger to himself, herself, or to others. This report must be made within 24 hours of the determination. The Law expressly provides that a principal or the principal’s designee making the determination and reporting shall not be held criminally, civilly, or professionally liable, except for willful or wanton misconduct.
“Clear and present danger” is defined under the Law as:
- A person who demonstrates threatening physical or verbal behavior, such as violent, suicidal, or assaultive threats, actions, or other behavior, as determined by a physician, clinical psychologist, qualified examiner, school administrator, or law enforcement official; or
- A person who communicates a serious threat of physical violence against a reasonably identifiable victim or poses a clear and imminent risk of serious physical injury to himself, herself, or another person as determined by a physician, clinical psychologist, or qualified examiner.
The Firearm Concealed Carry Act requires the Department of State Police and the Illinois Department of Human Services to adopt rules to implement these new reporting requirements. These regulations should provide further guidance to schools regarding how to make such reports. In the meantime, school administrators must immediately comply with the new reporting requirements. When making such reports, school administrators should keep in mind that the purpose of the Law does not appear to be to provide immediate assistance to school officials when responding to an emergency situation. Accordingly, this new Law should not alter the District’s typical emergency response procedures. For further guidance on implementing these new reporting requirements, school districts should consult their attorney.