Springfield, IL —
The Illinois House Wednesday narrowly passed new anti-bullying legislation for schools. The measure sponsored by lesbian state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) passed by 61 votes and now moves to the Illinois Senate.
"Today, we passed important legislation to take the next critical step to ensuring that our kids are safe in school," Cassidy told ChicagoPride.com. "The Safe Schools Act laid the foundation, and today's act puts in place the tools school districts need to be able to effectively respond to bullying in our schools and help to make our students safe."
The measure, known as HB5290, would require the Illinois State Board of Education to create a "template for a model bullying prevention policy" that individual school districts would use when establishing policies. The bill is not directly related to LGBT issues.
Cassidy said state Rep. Sandra Pihos (R-Glen Ellyn) worked with Republican lawmakers to help steer the measure to passage in the General Assembly. She also credited state Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora), who chairs the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.
State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) laid the foundation for HB5290 with previous work on the bullying issue.
State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) will sponsor the measure in the Senate, where Cassidy said she'll continue to push for its passage.