In this reaction essay, a student discusses her feelings about the new law changing the educational laws to make it more difficult to use expulsions and suspensions in Illinois.
I chose to write about Senate Bill 100 (105 ILCS 5/1-2, Public Act 99-0456), which was just passed this year. This bill makes it very hard for a child to be suspended or expelled from school. In order for a child to be expelled or suspended the approval for that punishment must go all the way up through the school board. This bill gets rid of the zero tolerance approach to establishing discipline and a safe learning space in schools.
I believe this is a good idea in most cases. It helps children who have had to miss class be able to catch up with the rest of the class. I believe it also helps because before this law, children would see that if they get suspended their punishment is more like a reward: they get to sit at home instead of going to school. Now those kids must stay in school and just may not get to be with their classmates all day. I feel like for some kids they shouldn’t be sent home because it may not be safe for them, and school is supposed to be a safe place. If they get in trouble at school, it should be taken care of at school ,and the child should not be sent home to a unsafe place. I know at the schools I work at they have created a thing called a buddy room. When a child gets in trouble they are sent to the buddy room to cool down and write out what went wrong and how they can fix it. The bill states that a child who it suspended for longer then four days they will be offered support services and mental health support. I agree with this also, even though the child was in the wrong, somehow to be missing this much school they do need help to make sure that they know their school things. The child also may need the mental health care because maybe there is actually something going on in their emotions or mind to cause them to act out the way they are acting. This is why I do agree with this bill, because it is better for the school district and the growing population. This is all public knowledge and can be googled, but as I am working in the school district, things like this are things I must know and work hard to enforce and get approved.
SB 100 is very significant, since zero tolerance policies were popular for years, and this act repudiates those laws. Do you have any ideas about why some people might have opposed this act? It passed with broad support, so it makes me wonder about what the people in the legislature thought about the practices that were common up until this year.