Clear harassment policies in schools

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– A new law is designed to protect your children at school.

The law signed Friday aims to make sure students do not have to worry about being harassed.

Under the measure sponsored by mahomet Senator Chapin Rose, school districts around the state will be required to create and maintain a sexual harassment and bullying policy in the district’s code of conduct handbook.

“You can’t hold anybody accountable if you don’t have a policy in your handbooks,” said Rose.

Many school districts already do this. Over in Taylorville, their discipline code that can be found online makes it clear that bullying, intimidation and sexual harassment will not be tolerated at school.

Rose said the goals is to get every district in our area and in the state to have this in place.

“We just want to make sure school districts have thought this through in an age-appropriate manner so that we are instilling good behaviors and good patterns on how to conduct yourselves with one another,” said Rose.
He said the implementation is about creating a culture of respect for one another in the classroom, something experts said needs to start before they get there.

“I think it’s extremely important for important for parents to be able to have a conversation with their student about that. They are the best teachers in terms of giving their children information about how to handle these kinds of things,” said Denise Johnson, Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center Acting Director.

Johnson said it is never too early to have conversations about sexual harassment with your kids. The new law takes effect January 1st.

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