Senate approves Villa-backed measure to protect students in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The Senate advanced a measure Wednesday supported by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) to protect students in Illinois from grooming and abuse at the hands of educators.

“Students have a right to feel safe at school and know they can trust the adults who watch over them,” said Villa. “This legislation ensures those who breach that trust are unable to go to another school and do the same thing.”

House Bill 4316 expands on legislation passed in December 2021 known as Faith’s Law. Named after Faith Colson, a woman who experienced sexual abuse as a student nearly 20 years ago, Faith’s Law made it illegal for school employees to groom students into sexual relationships. It created a resource guide for students, parents, teachers on sexual abuse response and prevention and strengthen training for teachers.

The new legislation builds upon current law to prevent teachers who have been found guilty of misconduct from being hired in other districts. It ensures accurate and up–to-date information about the nature of their misconduct at their previous position is provided when they apply for new positions.

“Teachers become some of the most loved and trusted figures in our children’s lives,” Villa said. “When bad actors in these positions of influence abuse their power to coerce or abuse students, it is a disgrace to the profession and deserves significant consequences.”

The legislation now awaits further action by the governor.