(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed Senate Bill 673, a bill that aims to help students find common ground when dealing with bullies rather than having them miss school.
Senate Bill 673 aims to help victims of bullying that are based on religion, race, ethnicity, or any other category that is identified in the Illinois Human Rights Act, instead of suspending students for bullying, school counselors and trained mediators would help guide the bully and the victim to find common ground.
Civil rights attorney and the author of the bill, Maaria Mozaffar, said this legislation finally gives students a chance to address their bullies in a non-confrontational manner.
“Think about all the students that have gone through bullying and how it scarred them because they did not know how to address it,” Mozaffar said. “This legislation gives those students a chance to deal with their problems.”
Mozaffar discussed how must bullying comes from students lacking understanding and dealing with others who have different cultural backgrounds, this bill helps those students understand those differences.
“This really is a pathway for students to better understand the different cultures, people, and communities around them, and be reminded of basic decent moral conduct,” Mozaffar said.
The legislation is the first of its kind in the United States, but Mozaffar said that does not mean Illinois’ work is done.
“Diversity is humanity’s greatest asset. I will continue to push for more inclusive conversations and find ways to push back against policies not equipped to embrace these diversities,” Mozaffar said.
The law goes into effect immediately.