Minors' criminal records will no longer be kept from their schools.
A new law that goes into effect January 1st, 2012 in Illinois requires police to release records when there is some type of threat present.
"If we ever had staff or students in danger, having that information ahead of time so that we could prevent something from happening ahead of time, that would be beneficial," QHS Principal Danielle Edgar said.
Safety is the focus of the new law which requires only relevant information to be shared between police and school officials. In Quincy Public Schools, School Resource officers will be responsible for this.
"We are supposed to advise them if there's any felony, Class A or Class B misdemeanor if it involves someone under the age of 17. So anyone 16 or under, if we arrest them or bring them into custody for some type of crime under that category we should alert the school. If it's anything of a violent nature, that we will make sure that they know," Sgt. Jeffrey Grott with Quincy Police Department explained.
Most information would be given verbally to school officials who would disseminate that information as they see appropriate.
"We give the administrator the information and whoever needs to know. It's their responsibility to make sure that that information does not end up in their school record," Grott said.
According to Edgar, teachers who are made aware of minors records will be told to keep the information private. Violating that instruction would be a violation of the employee handbook and could result in serious consequences for that employee.
"Confidentiality in the field of education is incredibly important. What we want to do is make sure we respect a student's rights," Edgar said.
The law is not just to meant to help staff at the school. If the school is more aware of a student's background they could better meet that student's need.
"This is trying to keep the school personnel safe but it's also to try and aid the child. Maybe there's something the school can do to assist them with some type of counseling," Grott said.
The new law will not largely change the way Quincy Police Department interacts with Quincy Public Schools because QPS has three resource officers. For smaller communities the cost and new resources could increase significantly.
Missouri and Iowa both have similar laws already in place.