New Illinois Law Requires Parental Presence for Criminal Interrogations on Campus

The Illinois legislature recently passed a new law requiring a parent or advocate to be present when school officials questions a student. Illinois legislature passed the law two years after a 16-year-old Naperville North High School student committed suicide after school officials interrogated him about a possible crime. Illinois students now how added protection when school officials question them about potential criminal activities.

Did a school employee question your child without a parent present about a potentially criminal action? If so, the school likely violated the new legislation. If your student needs skilled legal representation, contact the Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson today.

Illinois’ New Law Imposes Additional Requirements on School Administrators

Two years ago, a Naperville teenager committed suicide after school officials accused him of possessing child pornography. The school officials alleged that the teenager possessed a video of him and another student having sex. In Illinois, possession of child pornography is a felony that can result in serious jail time and placement on a sex offender registry. Officials later determined the boy's phone contained no illegal images. The school did not contact the teenager's parents until after they questioned him.

Spurred on by the teenager’s suicide, Illinois passed a law that addresses school interrogations. The new law requires police to "immediately make a reasonable attempt to notify the parent" any time police take a minor into custody. Since the teenager who committed suicide was not under police custody when administrators questioned him, this aspect of the new law would not have protected him.

Other provisions of the new law would have protected him, though. For example, the law prohibits police officers from questioning students who are 18 or younger regarding an alleged crime unless the teenager or child’s parents are present. If the parents cannot arrive in time, they must be allowed to appoint another guardian to sit with the student during the interrogation.

Illinois Police Officers are Not Entirely Supportive of New Law

The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association and the Chicago Police Department opposed the new legislation, contending that it imposes requirements that are too rigid. Nonetheless, the new law does provide an exception to the general rule that benefits police investigations. If the police determine that they need to take immediate and urgent action, they can legally question a student without the presence of a parent of an advocate. Police officers can still arrest students on school grounds.

If You are Facing a Criminal Charge in Illinois, We can Help

Illinois children and teens are now entitled to have a parent or advocate present when school administrators question them about an alleged criminal act. If school administrators asked your child about a criminal matter without your presence after August 23, 2019, they might have violated Illinois law. Contact the Chigaco criminal defense attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson to schedule your initial consultation today.

(image courtesy of Ryan Tauss)

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