(105 ILCS 5/21B-15)
Qualifications of educators.
(a) No one may be licensed to teach or supervise or be otherwise employed in the public schools of this State who is not of good character and at least 19 years of age.
In determining good character under this Section, the State Superintendent of Education shall take into consideration the disciplinary actions of other states or national entities against certificates or licenses issued by those states and held by individuals from those states. In addition, any felony conviction of the applicant may be taken into consideration; however, no one may be licensed to teach or supervise in the public schools of this State who has been convicted of (i) an offense set forth in subsection (b) of Section 21B-80 of this Code until 7 years following the end of the sentence for the criminal offense or (ii) an offense set forth in subsection (c) of Section 21B-80 of this Code. Unless the conviction is for an offense set forth in Section 21B-80 of this Code, an applicant must be permitted to submit character references or other written material before such a conviction or other information regarding the applicant's character may be used by the State Superintendent of Education as a basis for denying the application.
(b) No person otherwise qualified shall be denied the right to be licensed or to receive training for the purpose of becoming an educator because of a physical disability, including, but not limited to, visual and hearing disabilities; nor shall any school district refuse to employ a teacher on such grounds, provided that the person is able to carry out the duties of the position for which he or she applies.
(c) No person may be granted or continue to hold an educator license who has knowingly altered or misrepresented his or her qualifications, in this State or any other state, in order to acquire or renew the license. Any other license issued under this Article held by the person may be suspended or revoked by the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board, depending upon the severity of the alteration or misrepresentation.
(d) No one may teach or supervise in the public schools nor receive for teaching or supervising any part of any public school fund who does not hold an educator license granted by the State Superintendent of Education as provided in this Article. However, the provisions of this Article do not apply to a member of the armed forces who is employed as a teacher of subjects in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps of any school, nor to an individual teaching a dual credit course as provided for in the Dual Credit Quality Act.
(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code, the school board of a school district may grant to a teacher of the district a leave of absence with full pay for a period of not more than one year to permit the teacher to teach in a foreign state under the provisions of the Exchange Teacher Program established under Public Law 584, 79th Congress, and Public Law 402, 80th Congress, as amended. The school board granting the leave of absence may employ, with or without pay, a national of the foreign state wherein the teacher on the leave of absence is to teach if the national is qualified to teach in that foreign state and if that national is to teach in a grade level similar to the one that was taught in the foreign state. The State Board of Education, in consultation with the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board, may adopt rules as may be necessary to implement this subsection (e).
(f) No person shall be denied a license issued under this Article solely based on his or her citizenship status or immigration status. The General Assembly finds and declares that this subsection (f) is a State law within the meaning of subsection (d) of Section 1621 of Title 8 of the United States Code. Nothing in this subsection shall affect the requirements to obtain a license that are not directly related to citizenship status or immigration status. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to grant eligibility for obtaining any public benefit other than a license issued under this Article.
(Source: P.A. 99-667, eff. 7-29-16; 100-13, eff. 7-1-17; 100-1078, eff. 1-1-19