The 2020 legislative session in Springfield began January 28th and my agenda is beginning to move along. This week I unanimously passed House Resolution 203 out of the Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee. HR203 urges the formation of a South Suburban Youth Coalition and Violence Prevention Task Force in specific areas of the Southland. With the growing concerns of youth violence impacting many south suburban communities, the task force working in collaboration with various stakeholders, will aim to combat these behaviors.
The coalition will serve the following school districts:
Bloom Township High School District 206
Brookwood School District 167, Glenwood
Community Consolidated School District 168, Sauk Village
Ford Heights School District 169
Chicago Heights School District 170
Steger School District 194
Crete-Monee Community Unit School District 201U
Rich Township High School District 227
Elementary School District 159
Country Club Hills School District 160
Matteson School District 162
Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163
Each district is urged to provide education on the detrimental outcomes of student violence in schools and communities by using existing resources and staff, including teachers, deans, social workers and psychologists. Each district is encouraged to establish a proactive district policy that addresses the growing issue of youth violence by incorporating problem-solving and conflict resolution skills for students. Programs geared toward character building which are in alignment with the Illinois State Social and Emotional Learning Standards should be included.
Urging professional development for teachers, administrators, support staff, board members and parents regarding student violence within the school and community including de-escalation tactics, conflict resolution and trauma informed care. Including, but not limited to student peer mediation, school counseling, incident reporting, and school assemblies addressing student-to-student violence, gun violence and school safety.
Each district should partner with the South Suburban Youth Coalition and Violence Prevention Task Force and relevant stakeholders, including law enforcement, parents, municipal leaders, clergy, and youth organizations to devise a strategy to reduce youth violence. The task force is urged to meet on the 4th Monday of every month over the next five years. Each school district listed is asked to post HR203 on their website and distribute to staff, students and parents and for the elected school board to consider adopting HR203 at an upcoming board of education meeting.
Reducing youth violence in many communities is an important priority I’ve been working on for years. I’ll remind you of House Bill 333, which deals with juveniles who are repeat offenders using or possessing a firearm. Endless juvenile probation for serious gun offenses must end and I continue to advocate for the passage of HB333 in Springfield. HR203 is my most recent effort to reduce youth violence and I’d like to extend special thanks to Dr. Nakia Hall, South Suburban Youth Coalition, former school board member & president for Crete-Monee School District 201U and the Chair of my volunteer Education Advisory Committee, Randall White, South Suburban Youth Coalition and School Board Member for Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 and Jamair C. Atkins, South Suburban Youth Coalition and youth pastor, for their expertise, input and efforts in formulating HR 203.
If my district office can be of assistance, please contact us at 708-754-7900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your help and support. Have a great day!