On Jan. 1, prospective student-teachers in Illinois will be required to go through the same background check process as a regular teacher. Senate Bill 706, passed during the last session of the 99th General Assembly, improved the process of how to properly screen student-teacher candidates.
The legislation is the result of a multi-year discussion between Senator Bill Cunningham (D-18), the Illinois State Board of Education and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Currently in Illinois, student-teachers are required to get separate background checks for each school they teach at, which can create confusion for the student-teacher and the districts where they are placed to teach.
“Our first priority should be protecting our children while they are at school,” Cunningham said. “This law is a sustainable way to allow student teachers to get the on the job training they need while protecting our students.”
The legislation requires that student-teachers submit to a series of background checks, including a fingerprint-based criminal history check, a Statewide Sex Offender Database check along with a check of the Statewide Murderer and Violent Offender Databases. The Illinois State Police and FBI are also required to furnish any conviction records of prospective student teachers.
“This is about protecting our students from predators. If we want to keep excellent teachers in the classroom, we need a plan to both protect our future leaders and ensure our instructors are the best and safest,” Cunningham said.
The legislation passed both the Senate and the House and was signed by Gov. Rauner.
For other laws going into effect on Jan. 1, please visit the Illinois Senate Democrats’ website.
Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago.