Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x2 *** Pritzker vetoes bill that would expel students who bring B-B guns, paint ball guns, etc. to school
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*** UPDATED x2 *** Pritzker vetoes bill that would expel students who bring B-B guns, paint ball guns, etc. to school

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

* SB2124

Provides that a student must be expelled for a period of not less than one year if he or she brings to school, a school-sponsored activity or event, or an activity or event that bears a reasonable relationship to school a pneumatic gun, spring gun, paint ball gun, or B-B gun, irrespective of the type or size of projectile that can be fired or the gun’s muzzle velocity

The bill was sponsored by Republicans Chapin Rose in the Senate and Dan Caulkins in the House. We discussed it back in March. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and only one person voted “No” in the House (Democrat Delia Ramirez).

* The governor vetoed the bill yesterday

Today I veto Senate Bill 2124 from the 101st General Assembly, which would have amended the Illinois School Code. My administration appreciates the hard work of the sponsors of the legislation in the Senate and the House. While this legislation was well intended, the School Code already equips school boards, superintendents, and administrators with the tools necessary to discipline students who bring inappropriate, potentially harmful objects to school.

The School Code authorizes school boards to expel students who bring weapons to school. It also authorizes school boards to establish policies to discipline students who engage in gross disobedience and misconduct. These policies provide authority for school districts to discipline a student who brings a pneumatic gun, spring gun, paint ball gun, or B-B gun to a school or school activity, and to tailor the punishment to the circumstances of the incident. My office is prepared to work with the bill sponsors in order to address any ongoing concerns surrounding student safety.

Our state must do everything possible to prepare students for academic success, career advancement, and civic life. Too many students are derailed during their academic careers and entangled in the school-to-prison pipeline. State law should be crafted to ensure that students are not disproportionately disciplined in a manner that affects the long-term trajectory of their success in school and life. The School Code reflects this philosophy by recommending that school officials consider forms of non-exclusionary discipline prior to using out-of-school suspensions or expulsions.

*** UPDATE *** Sen. Chapin Rose…

The governor’s office called me Friday regarding their anticipated veto of this school safety legislation. We subsequently had a good conversation with them and the Mt. Zion school district about the very real problem that exists and has occurred in their district that the current law does not adequately address. The most important thing is that school boards need flexibility to address school safety issues in these circumstances, flexibility they do not have under current law. This point was reinforced in our conversation with the governor’s staff by the Mt. Zion superintendent. This is not a hypothetical issue, this was based on a real incident. During my conversation with the governor’s office, they agreed to work with me and with the Mt. Zion School District, between now and the upcoming fall veto session, to address the very real concerns and needs that inspired this bill. I appreciate this willingness and look forward to continuing to develop this idea.

I can’t see how mandated expulsion is about “flexibility,” but whatevs.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From the actual bill

The expulsion requirement under this subdivision may be modified by the superintendent, and the superintendent’s determination may be modified by the board on a case-by-case basis.

So, it does indeed give them some flexibility.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments
  1. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 9:57 am:

    I agree with this veto. So many youth get in life-changing trouble because of minor violations (such as forgetting a hunting knife in a backpack) or administrators stretching their policies to search cars in the parking lot. Is a paintball gun forgotten in a trunk worthy of an expulsion and derailing someone’s future?


  2. - efudd - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 9:59 am:

    Wait a second-
    A Democrat signed legislation that allows teaching hunter safety courses in public schools, and vetoed legislation that would allow the expulsion of kids simply for making a bone-headed decision, leaving it to the local school board to decide the right course of action?
    Can’t be right.


  3. - A guy - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 10:06 am:

    I think JB got this one right.


  4. - former southerner - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 10:13 am:

    Fully agree with JB on this one and I hope that his veto is sustained. Like the federal minimum sentencing guidelines, passing a one size fits all bill generally fails to anticipate the broad range of circumstances of actual behavior. It reminds me of the recent case of the pregnant mother who was cited for letting her 3 year old urinate in a fuel station parking lot because she was unable to get him to the restroom in time. Fortunately wiser and cooler minds prevailed and the LEO’s citation for the child’s indecent exposure was thrown out. Feel good laws very often result in undesired consequences not anticipated by the fervent creators of those bills.


  5. - RIJ - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 10:21 am:

    I wasn’t aware of this legislature, but from what is stated here it sounds as though Pritzker made a good call to veto it. The punishment is excessive to the “crime,” and mandatory sentences that don’t allow room for human judgment are a real problem.


  6. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 10:27 am:

    Sounds like a good veto to me. “…irrespective of the type or size of projectile…” I.e., get kicked out school for at least a year for bringing a Nerf gun or something vaguely gun-shaped that can shoot rubber bands.


  7. - RuralJewel - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    Thank you Governor Pritzker for seeing the far reaching consequences of such a bill. I recall a nearby school going into lockdown because a boy forgot a spent shotgun shell in his jacket from deer season. He handed it over to a teacher and obviously had no nefarious intentions but much ado was made. Better to be safe than sorry but let’s not legislate these incidents. We pay administration to do a job and be accountable to their communities. I would say this fits into th wheelhouse of administration. Good choice here Gov.


  8. - phenom_Anon - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    =The punishment is excessive to the “crime,” and mandatory sentences that don’t allow room for human judgment are a real problem. =

    If you read the bill, school boards could override the decision case-by-case and superintendents could set their own policy on length of expulsions (less than 1 year if they want). The reality of the bill is that it would have just allowed the school to do 1-year for bb guns, etc. Not a one size fits all deal at all.


  9. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    Another good call by J.B.

    – MrJM


  10. - Our Joe - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    Absolutely right call.


  11. - education first - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    And another reactionary piece of legislation from Chapin Rose. If you are having gun control problems in Central Illinois, address that directly.


  12. - Iggy - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 11:02 am:

    Good veto, I remember the debate on this bill was incredibly painful to watch.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 11:11 am:

    Good Veto.

    The concern will be the politics to it, and the possible override being about those politics.

    It should be “enough” to have voted (or sponsored) this bill, then run or talk about the veto.

    The veto gives everyone that “out”, while still being on record as being “tough”

    Will it be enough? Dunno.


  14. - Bertrum Cates - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 11:25 am:

    = Too many students are derailed during their academic careers and entangled in the school-to-prison pipeline. =

    Good line. Tip of the hat to its author.


  15. - Flat Bed Ford - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    Gov Pritzker should have signed the bill. Everyone decries guns in public places and schools especially but when it means actually punishing someone it’s too much? Do kids make mistakes? Of course. Should bringing a gun of any kind to school be okay? Absolutely not.


  16. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    =If you read the bill, school boards could override the decision case-by-case and superintendents could set their own policy on length of expulsions (less than 1 year if they want). The reality of the bill is that it would have just allowed the school to do 1-year for bb guns, etc. Not a one size fits all deal at all.=

    =Gov Pritzker should have signed the bill. Everyone decries guns in public places and schools especially but when it means actually punishing someone it’s too much? Do kids make mistakes? Of course. Should bringing a gun of any kind to school be okay? Absolutely not.=

    Take a breath, both of you, and go read the Illinois School Code.

    Not in any way a surprise that Chapin’s bill is worthless and time wasting.

    We (schools) already can expel a student for up to two (not one) years for possessing a weapon. The school determines, by policy and legislation, what constitutes a weapon. This has been on the books since the 1990’s.

    All Chapin had to do is check out the law. Maybe the bar is set too high for old Chapin, he still thinks the Common Core Standards were created by Obama.

    So, FBF your rant is totally unnecessary. As usual.


  17. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 1:28 pm:

    =superintendents could set their own policy on length of expulsions (less than 1 year if they want).=

    School Boards determine policy. Admin sets practice that adheres to policy. In an expulsion the admin make recommendations and the school board votes on the expulsion.


  18. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 1:39 pm:

    That update might be the most adult, diplomatic, reasoned comment I’ve ever seen attributed to Senator Rose.
    Good for him?


  19. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    I agree with the Governor’s reasoning that you shouldn’t be kicking a kid out of school for a year. I’ve never been a fan of that tactic and a lot of the time it seems punishments dished out by schools are the result of zero tolerance policies which are absurd. I think schools need to do a better job of using common sense in determining punishments. From what I’ve seen it seems tthat administrators lose all common sense when they become administrators.


  20. - JoanP - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 2:18 pm:

    =school boards need flexibility to address school safety issues =

    Mandating a specific penalty is not “flexibility”.


  21. - A guy - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    ==That update might be the most adult, diplomatic, reasoned comment I’ve ever seen attributed to Senator Rose.
    Good for him?==

    Frame worthy even


  22. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    Reasoned?

    How can something, legislatively, be called flexible if the outcome is a mandatory expulsion?

    The response by Mr. Rose is mockable to words like “flexible” and “mandatory” being synonymous.


  23. - JoanP - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 2:42 pm:

    Okay, just saw update #2.


  24. - SpfdNewb - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 3:39 pm:

    Still not flexible enough. It starts with mandatory expulsion then walks back. Should be the other way around.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 3:43 pm:

    ===The expulsion requirement under this subdivision may be modified by the superintendent, and the superintendent’s determination may be modified…===

    It starts with expulsion, “then”…

    A modification on that, having escalation and a lowering is the flexibility that makes more sense, not forcing an automatic expulsion, then downgrading.


  26. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 4:42 pm:

    ===The governor’s office called me Friday regarding their anticipated veto of this school safety legislation. We subsequently had a good conversation===

    Government by grown-ups, even if it was a bad bill and Pritzker was right to veto it.


  27. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 4:59 pm:

    =The governor’s office called me Friday regarding their anticipated veto of this school safety legislation.=

    Chapin is a banned word and Mt. Zion may want to invest in a book of statutes which they must lack.

    =So, it does indeed give them some flexibility.=

    They have always had it.

    Go read 105 ILCS 5/10-22.6

    This statute also describes what a weapon is for school purposes.

    They don’t need to spend any more time on this.


  28. - Rasselas - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 5:40 pm:

    OW, but you can’t issue a “mandatory expulsion” press release if you did it your way.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 21, 19 @ 5:43 pm:

    ===…but you can’t issue a “mandatory expulsion” press release if you did it your way.===

    Ah. Oh. Ah.

    So… it’s really about the perceived, not legislative “smartness” to seem reasoned?

    That’s on me. My bad.


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