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updated: 5/23/2012 5:41 PM

Legislation to address school violence moves forward

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  • Angel Facio

      Angel Facio

  • Carol Sente

      Carol Sente

 
 

SPRINGFIELD -- Legislation intended to prevent school violence like the 2008 stabbing of an Elgin teacher moved past a tall hurdle Wednesday when it was approved by a Senate committee.

The plan would let police tell schools in some instances when a student is under investigation for a violent crime outside of class. That knowledge could help prevent school violence, supporters say.

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The proposal was prompted by a Daily Herald investigation that followed the stabbing of Elgin High School teacher Carolyn Gilbert by then-16-year-old student Angel Facio.

Facio remains in prison, but supporters said if school officials knew he was being investigated for other violent acts before he stabbed Gilbert, the attack could have been prevented.

"We had an idea of what could have happened, and we did nothing about it," said state Rep. Carol Sente, a Vernon Hills Democrat.

Gilbert lost an eye and endured a lengthy recovery for stab wounds to the head and neck, but has returned to teaching.

The proposal now moves to the full Illinois Senate, where it could come up for a vote within the next few days.

Opponents have worried that the proposal could violate a student's privacy and perhaps saddle the student

with a bad reputation. The plan would keep any information from police being kept as a written record, but state Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, said administrators and teachers still might spread information inappropriately.

"There's a lot of nonsense expulsions and disciplinary actions," Raoul said.

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