Friday, October 8, 2010

Who Are We?

Illinois Prevent School Violence Act:
Legislative Sponsors and
Members of the Prevent School Violence Illinois Coalition

Legislative Sponsors of SB 3266:
Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford (Lead Sponsor)
Sen. David Koehler (Lead Co-Sponsor)
Sen. Mattie Hunter
Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins
Sen. Antonio Muñoz
Sen. Emil Jones, III
Rep. Karen A. Yarbrough (Lead Sponsor)
Rep. William Davis
Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie
Rep. Lou Lang
Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr.
Rep. Fred Crespo
Rep. Jack D. Franks
Rep. Monique D. Davis
Rep. Cynthia Soto
Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez
Rep. Al Riley
Rep. Jehan A. Gordon

Organizational Members of Prevent School Violence Illinois:
21st Judicial Circuit Family Violence Coordinating Council
ACLU of Illinois
Abraham Low Self-Help Systems
Advanced Youth Leadership Power
Advocacy Council for Human Rights
Affinity Community Services
Allied for Equality
Bloomington Human Relations Commission
Center on Halsted
Central Illinois Chapter of ACLU
Chicago Academy High School Gay-Straight Alliance
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
Chicago Foundation for Women
Chicago Lakeshore Hospital
Equality Illinois
Evanston Township High School Gay-Straight Alliance
First Congregational United Church of Christ
Hancock High School Gay-Straight Alliance
Health & Disability Advocates
Health & Medicine Policy Research Group
Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention
Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health
Illinois Center for Violence Prevention
Illinois Collaboration on Youth
Illinois Counseling Association
Illinois Department of Human Rights
Illinois Department of Public Health
Illinois Education Association
Illinois Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Illinois Psychiatric Society
Illinois Psychological Association
Illinois Safe Schools Alliance
Illinois Schools Counselors Association
Illinois School Health Association
Illinois Violence Prevention Authority
Iroquois-Kankakee Regional Office of Education #32
Inter-American Magnet School
Lear Management, Inc./John Matthew Rodriguez
Lincoln Park High School S.U.D.S.
Lyons Township High School PRISM
Maine South High School Gay-Straight Alliance
Mental Health America of Illinois
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Illinois
North Shore Unitarian Church
Oak Grove School (K-8), District 68
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Kankakee
PFLAG, Northern IL Council
PFLAG, Woodstock
Prosser High School Gay-Straight Alliance
Quad Citians Affirming Diversity
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Roots
This Is ME, Inc.
Umoja Student Development Corporation
Voices for Illinois Children
Walter Payton College Prep Queer-Straight Alliance
Wings Early Education Center
YWCA Evanston-North Shore

Individual Members of Prevent School Violence Illinois:
Avis Shapiro (member, PFLAG)
Cristen Adams (member, Salem Baptist Church)
Caitlin Bergh (member, PFLAG)
Sylvia Bridges (member, Salem Baptist Church)
Steph Churchill (employee, District 150, Peoria Public Schools)
Tiera Claudin (graduate of Peoria Public Schools, District 150)
Emily Gill (professor, Bradley University)
Lisa Jaburek (member, PFLAG)
Samantha Martin (High School Student)
Jeffrey Norby (member, PFLAG)
Tea Sefer (High School Student)
Jill Weber (parent)

Join PSVI at our next meeting!

PSVI’s next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 26 from 3-5pm at the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, 70 E. Lake Street, Ste. 900, Chicago.

To RSVP or for more information, please email Sarah Schriber at

School Bullying Prevention Task Force Meets!

On October 7, 2010, the Illinois School Bullying Prevention Task Force, created by the Illinois prevent School Violence Act, met to start its work of developing recommendations about policies, procedures and training that can put into place to effectively address school violence. The Task Force includes a broad-based group of anti-bullying experts, advocates, school management and personnel, and youth from across the state. The recommendations are due to the General Assembly by March 2011.
For more information about the Illinois School Bullying Prevention Task Force, its members and scheduled meetings, go to

Talking the Talk!

The Illinois School Violence Prevention Act prohibits bullying:
[O]n the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender-related identity or expression, unfavorable discharge from military service, association with
a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics, or any other distinguishing characteristic is prohibited in all school districts and non-public, non-sectarian elementary and secondary schools.
No student shall be subjected to bullying:
(1) during any school-sponsored education program or activity;
(2) while in school, on school property, on school buses or other school vehicles, at designated school bus stops waiting for the school bus, or at school-sponsored or school-sanctioned events or activities; or
(3) through the transmission of information from a school computer, a school computer network, or other similar electronic school equipment.
The Illinois School Violence Prevention Act defines bullying as:
[A]ny severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
(1) placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student's or students' person or property;
(2) causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student's or students' physical or mental health;
(3) substantially interfering with the student's or students' academic performance; or
(4) substantially interfering with the student's or students' ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
As defined, bullying, may take various forms, including without limitation one or more of the
following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.

Governor Quinn Signs Illinois Prevent School violence Act!

On July 27, 2010, before kicking off the Gay Pride celebration in Chicago, Governor Pat Quinn signed SB3266 into law. With the Illinois Prevent School Violence Act (P.A. 096-0952), Illinois joins more than 30 states whose anti-bullying laws explicitly define bullying and becomes just the ninth state whose anti-bullying laws enumerate categories of students against whom bullying is prohibited. Go to for the text of the Illinois Prevent School Violence Act.

Students Share their Stories

Below are excerpts from student’s stories about experiencing violence in school. To add your story, please contact Sarah Schriber at

Anonymous, Haven Middle School, Evanston
I came into public middle school at the beginning of 7th grade and ended up leaving half way through the year because of bullying. From the beginning of the year there was another girl in my class who would come up and talk to me. At first it was just about how I used to be home schooled, but after a while she would harass me about how I didn't fit in because of it and didn't have many friends. The teacher did notice but he never intervened beyond telling her once every few days to go sit somewhere not by me. After wearing out the topic of my being home schooled (since I got fairly immune to it) she moved on to how I dressed and cut my hair and generally expressed myself in terms of gender. That's when it got worse. Once she found out teasing me about that got to me, she would do it every day and started tripping me or kicking me in the halls. It made me dread going to school every day. She would call me a lesbian, use gender slurs, and tried to set me up with people against my will. And I tried talking to the teacher, and my parents talked to the administration, but all that happened to her was she got told, once, not to do it. There was no rule that said they had to punish her, so they didn't...

Anonymous, Sutherland Elementary School, Chicago
In first grade I was chased across the schoolyard during recess every day. The two boys were chasing me because of a necklace that I wore. It made me dread recess everyday, and I would avoid the students with any chance I got.
Every day during second grade I was chased by a schoolmate. One day he caught up to me and physically assaulted me. When his teacher was notified of the incident she said she "didn't want to hear any tattle tale-ing." The situation was not resolved.

Juan T., Prosser High School, Chicago
Towards the end of freshman year I was assaulted on the basis of being gay. The same day on another part of the campus my other friend was also assaulted to the point where they were hospitalized. The school was not much help and did nothing to the students because it was the end of the year.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Illinois Legislature just passed the anti-bullying bill!

According to Equality Illinois, Illinois House of Representatives just voted by 108-0 to pass SB3266, which will require schools to fight bullying in schools by adopting anti-bullying policies, creating resistance education and training for students, and other reasonable measures. Illinois State Senate passed the bill earlier this month.

Significantly, this bill covers bullying specifically targeted at students because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, among other categories.

The bill will now go to Governor Pat Quinn for signing.