Let educators decide who goes to school

February 12, 2014 

It was alarming to learn in December that 17-year-old David E. Fields allegedly sexually assaulted another student on the Belleville East campus.

Ratcheting up the concerns: Fields was already charged with aggravated battery and illegal possession of ammunition, but school officials couldn't suspend or expel him. Illinois law doesn't allow educators to consider problems that happen off campus.

That could soon change thanks to a bill lobbied for by East parent Ed McCann and introduced by state Rep. Jay Hoffman this week. It would give local educators the discretion to decide whether a student charged with a violent felony should be allowed to continue to attend school.

It's a common-sense measure that should get quick approval from lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn. This bill makes the safety of the majority of students the state's priority rather than the rights of an accused dangerous individual.

Illinois cannot afford to continue to pretend that a student's actions off campus don't matter at school. Lawmakers need to let local school leaders make the call about who attends school rather than the current one-size-fits-all law.

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service