Illinois

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Illinois Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

Key Components

What terms are used in Illinois anti-bullying laws and regulations?

Bullying, harassment, and intimidation.

Do these laws cover cyberbullying?

Yes.

What groups are listed under Illinois anti-bullying laws and regulations?

The following groups are listed under Illinois anti-bullying laws and regulations:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National origin
  • Ancestry
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Military status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender-related identity or expression
  • Unfavorable discharge from military service
  • Association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics
  • Any other distinguishing characteristic

Schools that receive federal funding are required by federal law to address discrimination on a number of different personal characteristics. Find out when bullying may be a civil rights violation.

Is there a state model policy I can use to create anti-bullying policies for my school or district?

The Illinois state policy guidance document is available on the Illinois Association of School Boards website

Which of the key components can be found in Illinois anti-bullying laws, regulations, and model policies?

DEFINITIONS
Key Components Present in Illinois State Laws and Regulations Present in Illinois Model Policy
Purpose YES YES
Scope YES YES
Prohibited Behavior YES YES
Enumerated Groups YES YES
DISTRICT POLICY REVIEW & DEVELOPMENT
Key Components Present in Illinois State Laws and Regulations Present in Illinois Model Policy
District Policy YES YES
District Policy Review YES YES
DISTRICT POLICY COMPONENTS
Key Components Present in Illinois State Laws and Regulations Present in Illinois Model Policy
Definitions YES YES
Reporting YES YES
Investigations YES YES
Written Records YES YES
Consequences YES YES
Mental Health YES YES
ADDITIONAL COMPONENTS
Key Components Present in Illinois State Laws and Regulations Present in Illinois Model Policy
Communications YES YES
Training/Prevention YES NO
Transparency/Monitoring YES NO
Legal Remedies YES NO

NOTE: Click on the Key Components links to get more information about that component.

What are the Illinois laws and regulations that cover bullying?

How are bullying and cyberbullying defined in Illinois anti-bullying laws and regulations?

Illinois anti-bullying laws include the following definitions of bullying and cyberbullying:

“Bullying” includes “cyber-bullying” and means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:

(1) placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or property;

(2) causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or students’ physical or mental health;

(3) substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or

(4) substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

“Bullying”, as defined in this subsection (b), may take various forms, including without limitation one or more of the following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.

“Cyber-bullying” means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including without limitation any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic system, photoelectronic system, or photooptical system, including without limitation electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications. “Cyber-bullying” includes the creation of a webpage or weblog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages if the creation or impersonation creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying in this Section. “Cyber-bullying” also includes the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons if the distribution or posting creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying in this Section.

105 ILCS 5/27-23.7 (2017)

Do Illinois anti-bullying laws and regulations cover cyberbullying that occurs off-campus?

Yes. Illinois anti-bullying laws cover off-campus conduct if the behavior causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school, and if a school administrator or teacher receives a report that bullying has occurred and does not require a district or school to staff or monitor any non-school-related activity, function, or program.

What are the policy requirements for schools to prevent and respond to bullying behavior?

Illinois school districts adopt bullying prevention policies. Illinois school district policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:

  • Definitions of bullying that conform to the definition in state law;
  • Statements that bullying is contrary to state law and school district policy;
  • Procedures for reporting and investigations, including designation of a staff person or persons responsible for receiving bullying reports and a procedure for anonymous reporting;
  • Procedure for promptly informing parents or guardians of all students involved in an alleged incident of bullying and discussing the availability of social worker services, counseling, school psychological services, other interventions, and restorative measures;
  • Statements prohibiting reprisal or retaliation;
  • Statements of disciplinary consequences for violations of the policy;
  • Interventions that can be taken to address bullying, which may include but are not limited to, school social work services, restorative measures, social-emotional skill building, counseling, school psychological services, and community-based services; and
  • Requirements regarding how the policy will be publicized within the district.

Illinois anti-bullying laws require districts to file policies with the State Board of Education and to engage in a policy evaluation review process to assess the outcomes and effectiveness of the policy. Information developed as a result of the policy evaluation must be made available on the Internet website of the school district. Illinois school districts must review and re-evaluate policies every two years and make any necessary and appropriate revisions.

Do Illinois anti-bullying laws and regulations include protections for specific groups?

Yes. Illinois anti-bullying laws prohibit bullying on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender-related identity or expression, unfavorable discharge from military service, association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics, or any other distinguishing characteristic. 

Illinois schools that receive federal funding are required by federal law to address discrimination on a number of different personal characteristics. Find out when bullying may be a civil rights violation.

Do Illinois anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to implement bullying prevention programs or strategies?

Yes. Illinois anti-bullying laws outline roles and responsibilities for school social workers that include, but are not limited to, developing and implementing school-based prevention programs, including mediation and violence prevention, implementing social and emotional education programs and services, and establishing and implementing bullying prevention and intervention programs.

Do Illinois anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to train teachers and other school staff on how to respond to bullying incidents?

No. Illinois anti-bullying laws do not require districts to train teachers and other school staff on how to respond to bullying incidents.

Do Illinois anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to provide safeguards or mental health supports for students involved with bullying?

Yes. Illinois school district bullying prevention policies must include interventions that can be taken to address bullying. School districts must discuss the availability of interventions with parents or guardians of all students involved in alleged incidents of bullying. Interventions may include, but are not limited to, school social worker services, restorative measures, social-emotional skill building, counseling, school psychological services, and community-based services.

Do Illinois anti-bullying laws and regulations involve parents in efforts to address bullying behavior?

Yes. Illinois school district bullying prevention policies must be based on the engagement of a range of school stakeholders including students and parents or guardians. Illinois school district bullying prevention policies must also include procedures for promptly informing parents or guardians of all students involved in an alleged incident of bullying.

For More Information

Visit the Illinois State Board of Education’s “Bullying Prevention” webpage and/or view the Illinois state policy guidance document on bullying and harassment.

The key component framework used in the analysis of state laws is based on the review of legislation presented in the “Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies – December 2011” (U.S. Department of Education).

Content last updated on June 21, 2017