Springfield, IL – Today, The Senate passed HB 3550 which requires consent to be taught in all Illinois Sex Education curriculum. It also provides a more comprehensive definition of consent.
In the wake of last summer’s sexual abuse expose in Chicago Public Schools, it became abundantly clear that the issue of sexual assault and abuse was not being given enough attention. Following the expose, Rep. Williams’ office heard a lot about stricter disciplinary measures and background checks for all CPS school personnel. However, missing from the conversation was a clear set of practices regarding prevention strategies. After hearing from a number of concerned parents and community members, Rep. Williams began to explore different ways to address the issue of sexual abuse prevention.
Through research and discussions with organizations including Planned Parenthood Illinois, the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center and others, Rep. Williams’ office determined the missing element was a comprehensive and consistent approach to teaching consent to our students. We learned that experts consider the teaching of consent in schools to be a critical component of sexual abuse prevention- and that current law did not give educators the guidance they needed to teach this critically important concept in a clear and uniform fashion. This prompted Rep. Williams to introduce HB 3550 and address this issue head on by adding a comprehensive definition of consent to the statute governing sex education in Illinois. Through the hard work of many advocates and community members this bill has passed both chambers and is waiting to be signed into to law by Governor Pritzker. This legislation makes Illinois one of only about a dozen states to teach consent in the classroom. You can read more about the bill in the Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, The Hill, and The Southerner.
Click HERE to watch Rep. Williams’ floor speech regarding HB 3550.