Governor Pat Quinn yesterday signed House Bill 5707 into law, that requires all public schools to create an anti-bullying policy, reported the Chicago Tribune. The bill includes a definition of bullying, the procedures for students to report bullying and for school officials to investigate those reports, procedures for notifying parents about bullying and actions needed to address it.
Meanwhile, Bruce Rauner, Quinn's opponent in the upcoming November election for governor of Illinois, either didn't get the memo or he didn't bother to read or even take a passing interest in the new law. Rich Miller's Capitol Fax reported that Rauner chose to mark the bill-signing ceremony by sending "Quinnocchio" to bully the governor.
Miller said that this was "neither the time nor the place for this goofiness…"
Both major party candidates in this race need to grow the heck up.
…Adding… Apparently, the clown was dancing. Video coming soon.
*** UPDATE *** Yep, he was dancing outside an anti-bullying event…
Rep. Kelly Cassidy, the Illinois House of Representatives sponsor for the bill, was not the amused in the least. Cassidy tweeted "Shame on @BruceRaunerHQ sending a clown to signing of anti-bullying bill. Does he think bullying is funny?"
The appearance of "Quinnocchio" at this serious event also sent the wrong kind of message to the children at the school.
Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) sponsored the bill in the Illinois State Senate. The anti-bullying program may have been modeled after the Challenge Day organization, a group whose "vision is that every child lives in a world where they feel safe, loved and celebrated."
Governor Quinn's office said the anti-bullying bill will help protect Illinois students from bullying both inside and outside the classroom. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure the safety of students in every community across Illinois.
"Intimidation and fear have no place in Illinois’ schools," Governor Quinn said. "Every student in Illinois deserves to go to a school where they feel comfortable and safe. This new law is for all students who have been bullied but didn’t know where to turn. Our schools will now set comprehensive anti-bullying standards for all districts so we can help students succeed inside and outside the classroom."
Cassidy has been a passionate proponent for children, as is Steans. Cassidy said, "I heard from parents all over the state whose kids had been bullied and they had gotten no support from schools. It’s clear we were not doing enough, and this new law is a major step in the right direction.”
Steans added, "Schools must give more than lip service to protecting kids. Learning can’t take place in an environment where students are not taught and expected to treat one another with respect. Students need to know where to go for help when they are bullied, and they need assurance that adults at school will support them and work to resolve the issue."
Governor Quinn has taken a strong stance against bullying in signing the legislation that also expands the definition of bullying, requires gang prevention training in Illinois schools and created the School Bullying Prevention Task Force to examine the causes of bullying. The law that allows the Chicago Board of Education to develop a program that establishes common bonds between youth of different backgrounds and ethnicities. The program may be modeled after the Challenge Day organization, which has a mission to address issues like bullying.