New McClure Bill Would Amend Code to Allow Victims of Abuse to Stay in Own School District

By Benjamin Cox on January 24, 2024 at 6:03am

State Senator Steve McClure of Chatham filed a bill on Friday aiming at protecting juvenile victims of abuse.

McClure’s proposed legislation would amend the School Board Code for non-resident pupils who had previously been a resident of a school district, but was then forced to move out of the district because the juvenile had accused a household member of abuse to law enforcement.

McClure says the bill was inspired by a situation that happened in his district: “Essentially what happened, in my district, we had a student who made allegations of sexual abuse against a parent. That student was then moved out of the house by DCFS, and then moved to live with the other parent who resides outside the school district. So, this student was then forced to go to the new school district and was not allowed to go back to her district that she was used to with all of her friends. And so, because she was forced to go to the new school district and was not allowed to go to her old school, I thought ‘Why on Earth would the State of Illinois want to punish students for reporting sexual abuse or any kind of abuse in the household?’ Because it’s a traumatic enough ordeal for a child to do this against a parent, but then, on top of that, to be moved out of the house and you don’t get to see your friends anymore at school, that’s unacceptable.”

McClure says he understands certain concerns, but says the situation that took place in his district was particularly frustrating for the student and their support system: “Obviously, there are issues with transportation sometimes. In this case that I’m referring to the student had not just other friends and family members that were willing to take them to school in the old district, but they also had teachers volunteering to take the student into the old district on a daily basis so they had transportation. The school district didn’t allow it, and so, we’ve got to change that. That’s exactly why I filed the bill. That’s exactly what we can hopefully do.”

The bill was referred to the Illinois Senate Assignments Committee on Friday.