CAN THEY QUESTION MY CHILD AT SCHOOL? NEW RULES UNDER ILLINOIS LAW

As of August 23, 2019, Illinois has new ground rules regarding the need to notify a parent before questioning your minor child at school.

Before questioning a student on school grounds who is suspected of a crime 1) a law enforcement or school security official must try to notify you, 2) the school must document the time and manner of the notice, and 3) the school must make reasonable efforts to ensure you are present during questioning. If you cannot be present, then the school must include a school social worker, psychologist, nurse, guidance counselor or other mental health professional during questioning. Where practicable, the school must also make reasonable efforts to ensure that a law enforcement officer trained in promoting safe interactions with youth is present.

Such notice is not required in circumstances where a reasonable person would believe that urgent and immediate action is necessary to 1) prevent bodily harm, 2) apprehend an armed or fleeing suspect, 3) prevent the destruction of evidence or 4) deal with an emergency or other dangerous situation.

The above notice requirements do not bar law enforcement from arresting your child on school grounds.

Note that this law applies to questioning on school grounds. “School grounds” is defined as “the real property comprising an active and operational elementary or secondary school during the regular hours in which school is in session and when students are present.” It is not clear that parental notification is required at times when school is not in session or no students are present.

Crimes committed at school can lead to punishment under both the criminal justice system and the school disciplinary code. Your child can face expulsion as well as time in jail. As a criminal and school attorney, I can assist you with both aspects of this difficult situation in navigating both systems, evaluating the evidence, probing for weaknesses in the state and school’s cases and as a last resort, helping you negotiate a better outcome for your child than you might do on your own.

If you have questions, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

Source: 105 ILCS 5/22-85

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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