Senate approves Feigenholtz anti-bullying legislation

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Sara Feigenholtz that improves transparency, reporting and more timely notification of bullying incidents is one step closer to becoming law after the Senate voted to pass it on Thursday.

“Providing timely notification of these incidents as soon as possible has the potential to save students’ lives,” said Feigenholtz (D-Chicago). “School administrators have a responsibility to ensure their schools foster a healthy atmosphere for students.”

House Bill 3425 would require schools to alert parents and guardians of alleged bullying incidents involving their child within 24 hours after the school’s administration is made aware of the incident. A family who tragically lost their son to suicide after being bullied and cyberbullied by his classmates brought this matter to Senator Feigenholtz and Representative Margaret Croke last year in an attempt to address the failures that led to their son’s death.

The measure also adds additional protected categories to the list of characteristics for which bullying at schools is prohibited, including socioeconomic status, physical appearance, parenting status and homelessness.

“Through this legislation, we can ensure that students remain safe and that their parents understand what they’re going through at school,” Feigenholtz said. “Representative Croke and I were proud to sponsor this bill in honor of a family in our district who lost a child to bullying. We hope this bill serves as a beacon of hope for families across Illinois.”

House Bill 3425 passed both chambers and heads to the governor’s office for approval.