(105 ILCS 5/13A-1)
The General Assembly finds and
declares as follows:
(a) The children of this State constitute its most
important resource, and in order to enable those children to reach their full potential, the State must provide them the quality public education that the Constitution of the State of Illinois mandates.
(b) The State cannot provide its children with the
education they deserve and require unless the environment of the public schools is conducive to learning.
(c) That environment cannot be achieved unless an
atmosphere of safety prevails, assuring that the person of each student, teacher, and staff member is respected, and that none of those people are subjected to violence, threats, harassment, intimidation, or otherwise confrontational or inappropriate behaviors that disrupt the educational atmosphere.
(d) In most schools, although the disruptive students
who are the primary cause of inappropriate educational environments comprise a small percentage of the total student body, they nevertheless consume a substantial amount of the time and resources of teachers and school administrators who are required to address and contain that disruptive behavior.
(e) Disruptive students typically derive little
benefit from traditional school programs and may benefit substantially by being transferred from their current school into an alternative public school program, where their particular needs may be more appropriately and individually addressed and where they may benefit from the opportunity for a fresh start in a new educational environment. At those alternative school programs, innovative academic and school-to-work programs, including but not limited to the techniques of work based learning and technology delivered learning, can be utilized to best help the students enrolled in those schools to become productive citizens.
(f) Students need an appropriate, constructive
classroom atmosphere in order to benefit from the teacher's presentations. Students cannot afford the classroom disruptions and often become frustrated and angry at the inability of their teachers and schools to control disruptive students. As a result, they drop out of school too often. Furthermore, even if these students stay in school and graduate, they have been deprived by their disruptive classmates of the attention to their educational needs that their teachers would otherwise have provided, thereby diminishing their receiving the education and skills necessary to secure good jobs and become productive members of an increasingly competitive economic environment.
(g) Parents of school children statewide have
expressed their rising anger and concern at the failure of their local public schools to provide a safe and appropriate educational environment for their children and to deal appropriately with disruptive students, and the General Assembly deems their concerns to be understandable and justified.
(h) Every school district in the State shall do all
it can to ensure a safe and appropriate educational environment for all of its students, and the first, but not the only, step school districts must take to achieve that goal is to administratively transfer disruptive students from the schools they currently attend to the alternative school programs created by this Article. Those administrative transfers will also provide optional educational programs to best fit the needs of the transferred students.
(i) Administrative transfers may prove more
productive for dealing with disruptive students than out-of-school suspensions or expulsions, which have been the subject of much criticism.
(j) Because of the urgency of the problems described
in this Section, as well as their statewide impact, the State of Illinois bears the responsibility to establish and fully fund alternative schools as soon as possible, thereby providing school districts with an option for dealing with disruptive students that they do not now possess.
(k) While school districts shall comply with all
applicable federal laws and regulations, they should do so consistent with the goals and policies stated in this Article. Further, this Article is intended to be consistent with all applicable federal laws and regulations.
(l) An alternative school program established under
this Article is subject to the other provisions of this Code that apply generally in the public schools of this State and to the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, except as otherwise provided in this Article.
(m) The provisions of the Illinois Educational Labor
Relations Act apply to those alternative school programs that are created on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1995.
(Source: P.A. 89-383, eff. 8-18-95; 89-629, eff. 8-9-96