Reporting Marissa Bailey
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ELGIN (CBS) – Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday approved legislation designed to make schools safer by alerting educators about potentially dangerous students.
CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey reports.
Quinn signed the bill at a school in Elgin with teacher Carolyn Gilbert, who was stabbed in the eye four years ago by student Angel Facio, then 16.
At the time, Facio was the subject of two ongoing investigations – for sexual assault and attempted abduction – but because of student privacy laws school leaders had no idea.
“This is an important bill,” Quinn said. “We must maintain safety in the schoolroom, in the classroom, so our teachers can do their job and instill knowledge.”
The bill he signed allows police departments to notify school administrators when a student is a part of an ongoing investigation, even if they haven’t been arrested or charged.
“It puts things in place where we can be more responsive,” John Heiderscheidt, safety and security coordinator for the Elgin school system, said.
Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda tells Bailey that authorities will weigh each case before reaching out to school officials. Detectives will notify high school principals, and those officials will decide whether the circumstances merit sharing the information with teachers and staff members, Swoboda said.
The police information will not become part of a student’s permanent record, he said.
“It’s a balancing act,” Swoboda said. “The police department deals with this all the time: What information do we want to share with the community to protect them?”