By SAM RAPPAPORT
On Aug. 24, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Senate Bill 100, legislation aimed at disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline and reforming school disciplinary practices that unfairly detriment students of color.
SB 100 was created with the input of Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE), a youth organizing collaborative for education and racial justice. Students from Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., were included in VOYCE’s initiative to spearhead SB 100.
In a press release dated August 25, VOYCE applauded the bipartisan effort to pass SB 100, calling it “the most sweeping effort in the nation to rein in punitive school discipline practices that have pushed disproportionate numbers of African American students out of school, typically for minor offenses.”
“[SB 100] prioritizes the creation of safe and orderly schools while addressing excessive use of the most sever forms of discipline,” the press release read. “Under the legislation students can only be suspended, expelled or referred to an alternative school if all other ‘appropriate and available’ alternative are exhausted.”
State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25), a house sponsor of the bill, was relieved that the governor signed the bill into law, though she could think of no reason why he wouldn’t have.
“There was no reason why he wouldn’t have signed it,” Currie said over the phone. “There was agreement among both parties that this was a sensible approach to the issue.”