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School State Crime Database Not Being Utilized by Illinois Public Schools

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school zone, crimes at school, SIRS, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, criminal attorneyDid you know that there is a rarely discussed state government database that tracks crimes occurring in the Illinois public school system? The School Incident Reporting System (“SIRS”) has been maintained by the Illinois State Board of Education (“ISBE”) and is legally required to provide information regarding assaults, batteries, and drug offenses that have occurred in all Illinois public schools. However, the lack of public awareness of the database is great, and many Illinois area public schools have not held up their end of the bargain when it comes to properly reporting instances of criminal activity occurring in Illinois public schools.

The NBC 5 Report on SIRS

NBC 5 Investigates in Chicago conducted an in-depth investigation of the SIRS. The investigation's findings were daunting regarding Chicago area and suburban schools inactivity in reporting criminal activities occurring in Illinois public schools. It was found that less than a third of Chicago area schools have reported incidents of criminal activity. This is a big issue because further investigations of reports submitted to SIRS by Cook, Kane, McHenry, Will, and DuPage counties found over a thousand reports of drug activity, gang violence, and other assaults against school personnel and students. These facts indicate that there is a lot of violence and other criminal activity occurring in Illinois public schools of which parents are not aware.

An In-Depth Evaluation of Reported Cases

The findings about reported criminal activities in Illinois public schools are disheartening. It was found that only 646 suburban and city schools have disclosed criminal activities to the SIRS. This means that of the 4,493 public schools in Illinois, less than a thousand of these schools have reported criminal activities occurring within their walls. The investigation also found that there is a serious weapons issue in Illinois public schools. In fact, weapon carrying and confiscations occurred in 1,428 of incidents reported, and 314 of weapons reports occurred in suburban schools. SIRS reports submitted declared that students were found in possession of weapons such as knives, guns, and explosives on public school grounds.

The biggest issue for Illinois parents is the fact that not only are such dangerous activities occurring at public schools, but it is also estimated that only a third of all public schools are actually reporting such behavior and activities. Dismal reporting to SIRS is believed to be caused by the fact that no penalties are imposed on schools who do not submit reports. Furthermore, many parents and school personnel are not even aware of the SIRS's existence. Thus, parents often have to do their own secondary research to found out what criminal activities are occurring at public schools, instead of being able to directly receive such information from SIRS.

Criminal activity in Illinois public schools is a significant criminal law and family law issue. If you have any questions or need family and criminal law legal advice, you should contact the family law and criminal law attorneys here at the Law Offices of Cosmo Tedone and Barbara Morton, P.C. in Plainfield, Illinois for all of your small business law questions or issues.
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