Update: As of August 23, 2019, Illinois law now requires parental notification before questioning your child at school. See our related post Can They Question My Child at School? New Rules Under Illinois Law.

Your son got caught with contraband in his school locker. The principal hauled him in for questioning without asking if your son wanted an attorney. Can they do that?

Generally, the answer is yes. While Illinois law prohibits police and other public officials from questioning your minor child without asking if he or she wants an attorney, most school officials are not considered a public official for these purposes.

Under 705 ILCS 405/5-401.5(a-5), your child’s statement is presumed inadmissible as evidence if an officer or public official takes your child’s statement during a custodial interrogation without first reading your child his or her Miranda rights. The officer must then ask: (A) Do you want to have a lawyer? and (B) Do you want to talk to me?

Unless a school official’s primary duty is protecting the public interest or enforcing the law, he or she is not required to comply with the above procedure. (See In re Jose A.). (As of August 23, 2019, the school must try to notify you and make reasonable efforts to insure you are present before questioning a child under age 18.)

If your child has been charged with a crime, contact an experienced school or juvenile law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your child’s case for its best possible defense. What if the school official who questioned your child was instead the school security officer? Was the questioning proper? Can the state prove all the elements of your child’s offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if your child has already admitted to the crime, an attorney can help protect his or her rights.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois school or juvenile matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(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.)