After Teen’s Suicide, New Illinois Law Changes Criminal Interrogation at Schools

After Teen’s Suicide, New Illinois Law Changes Criminal Interrogation at Schools

ILLINOIS (IRN) — Illinois law now requires schools to notify and include a parent or guardian when students are questioned about criminal matters at school.

State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Aurora, was the bill’s chief sponsor in the Illinois House. She said House Bill 2627 gives students a better idea about protocol when it comes to criminal interrogation at school. She said before the law was signed there wasn’t a specific protocol in place if a student was suspected of committing a crime.

The new law prohibits students from being left alone during an interrogation by a resource officer or school administrator. It also requires a parent or guardian to be immediately notified. If they cannot be present during the interrogation, the school must have a mental health professional with the student.

The law was prompted by Corey Walgren’s death. The 16-year-old Naperville North High School student killed himself after he was questioned about an alleged sex tape by a school resource officer and a school dean without his parents’ knowledge.

The Illinois Sheriff’s Association initially opposed some aspects of the bill as it was making its way through the legislature. Association officials worked with lawmakers to help eliminate possible unintended consequences for school safety, Illinois Sheriff’s Association Executive Director Jim Kaitschuk said. He said the organization worked to help ensure the bill would have the intent lawmakers were looking for “but also not comprise school safety and the safety of other students.”

The final version included provisions to allow for immediate interrogations if student safety is at risk.

The new law took effect last week.

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