IEA passes bill to address student discipline issues stemming from Senate Bill 100

20% of IEA members say they’ve been assaulted at work

SPRINGFIELD – Senate Bill 1400 (SB 1400) passed through the Illinois General Assembly and is now on its way to being signed into law. This bill will require the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to draft and publish guidance on evidence-based interventions and the re-engagement of at-risk students. It strengthens the original mission of Illinois Public Act 99-456 (IPA 99-456), which is also known as Senate Bill 100, while supporting the behavioral health and success of all students.

“Senate Bill 100 is an important milestone in addressing racial disparities in student discipline. However, in many districts, the bill led to a lack of appropriate intervention altogether,” IEA President Al Llorens said. “It was never meant to remove all appropriate boundaries for our students. Consequences are part of teaching students the skills they need to be successful in life.”

A scientific survey of IEA members conducted in April revealed: nearly one in five or 20% of teachers and support staff across the state have been assaulted on the job in the last five years.

“Typically, when landmark legislation like this passes, model policies and support are provided to districts. But that never happened. Instead, without proper guidance, many districts removed repercussions almost entirely. Little to no disciplinary practices, coupled with the increased student aggression stemming from the disruption caused by the pandemic means our members are being hit, kicked and bit more than ever before,” Llorens said. “We need to make sure we create school environments that are safe and healthy for all students and staff.”

Public Act 99-0456 passed in 2015, signaling the state’s commitment to ending discriminatory student discipline policies. The landmark legislation amended Illinois’ School Code to prohibit the use of zero tolerance policies, limit the use of exclusionary discipline (i.e., out-of- school suspensions and expulsions), prohibit the use of disciplinary fines and fees and clearly define the role of law enforcement in schools.

The impetus for this well-intentioned bill was a U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights report that indicated Illinois had a higher gap than the nation between the suspension rates of Black students and White students.

A newly-published report by the IEA found, “Teachers need more support and schools need additional resources to ensure that students’ behavioral health needs are being met without the use of ineffective exclusionary discipline practices.”

The report suggests several solutions including:

  • Increased training for educators and administrators;
  • Technical support for data collection and analysis;
  • Setting caseload limits for school clinicians;
  • Expand access to school linked health and behavioral centers;
  • Comprehensive school mental health systems;
  • And amend IPA 99-456 to ensure schools can respond appropriately when violent student behavior occurs.

“We are grateful our lawmakers listened to us and saw the need for change. We know this bill doesn’t entirely fix the issues stemming from aggressive student behavior, but we absolutely believe this is a step in the right direction,” Llorens said. “We look forward to continuing to work together with all stakeholders, to make sure we have safe schools for all.”

Read the full report on student discipline policy reform.


At 135,000 members strong, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) is the largest union in Illinois. The IEA represents PreK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty and support staff, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.

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