FAQ – Firearm Concealed Carry Act

 November 5, 2014

By: Adam Dauksas

 Last Fall, Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd.  alerted its clients as to the requirements of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, which generally permits Illinois citizens to now carry concealed firearms in public.  As the law has begun to take effect, however, there have been some common questions that the Firm has received:

 Can a person drive onto a school’s parking lot with a concealed firearm and store it in their vehicle?

Yes. While the law makes it illegal for a licensed individual to carry a concealed firearm on or into the property of a public school, there is a limited exception regarding parking lots. A person may drive onto the parking lot of a public school with a concealed firearm in their vehicle and store it in a “case” out of plain view, inside of the locked vehicle. The law defines a “case” as a glove compartment or console that completely encloses the firearm, the trunk of the car, or a firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container. In addition, the law provides that a person may carry a concealed firearm “in the immediate area” surrounding their vehicle within a school’s parking lot but only for the limited purpose of storing or retrieving it from the vehicle’s trunk; provided, however, the concealed firearm must be unloaded prior to exiting the vehicle.

Where do the signs that a school is required to post need to be located?

Signs stating that the carrying of firearms is prohibited must be clearly and conspicuously posted at the public entrances to school buildings, administrative offices, athletic fields, and parking lots (notwithstanding the exception noted above). The signs, a printout of which can be found  here, must also be at least 4 inches by 6 inches in size.

Has the Illinois State Police Department issued any additional guidance about the “clear and present danger” reporting requirement?

Yes. The State Police have promulgated an administrative rule that addresses this issue, as well as made available  a form and instructions for how school administrators are to report their determinations of students who constitute a “clear and present danger.” This form must be sent directly to the State Police within 24 hours of the determination being made. In addition, the administrative rule provides that reporting must be made consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).

If your school district has any additional questions concerning the Firearm Concealed Carry Act or needs assistance in drafting its policy regarding “clear and present danger” reporting, contact Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd.

AMENDMENT TO BULLYING LEGISLATION PROVIDES BREATHING ROOM FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS

July 16, 2014

By Parker R. Himes

At our Administrator’s Workshop last month, we reported on House Bill 5707 and the strict timelines it would impose upon school officials responsible for investigating and responding to bullying complaints. We are pleased to report that a late Floor Amendment has relaxed those timelines to give school officials more flexibility and discretion.  Through the amendment, the General Assembly responded to concerns about the rigid nature of the original timelines and allows school districts more leeway concerning the timing of investigations and reports of instances of bullying.  The Governor signed this bill into law as Public Act 98-0669.

Now, instead of requiring an investigation to be concluded within 10 days of the receipt of a report of bullying, the law calls for districts to make “all reasonable efforts to complete the investigation within 10 days.”  Further, rather than requiring a report to the principal or his designee within 2 days of the receipt of a report of bullying, the principal or designee should receive the report “as soon as possible after the [initial] report is received.”  The provision requiring an investigation to begin within 1 school day of the receipt of a bullying report was also removed from the law. Finally, the provision requiring a report to parents of students involved in bullying incidents within 5 days of the principal or designee receiving a report of bullying was also changed.  Now, school districts must provide those parents “information about the investigation and an opportunity to meet with the principal or school administrator or designee” to discuss the investigation and its results.

Bullying remains a hot topic around the State. Your attorneys at Scariano, Himes and Petrarca continue to monitor this area and will keep you abreast of any new developments. Should you confront a bullying issue in your school district, we recommend contacting an attorney at the Firm so we may help you navigate this complex and ever-changing area of the law.

Protocols for Reporting Sexual Assault/Abuse

April 12, 2012

By Darcee C. Williams

 In 2009, the Lake County Board passed a resolution authorizing and supporting the establishment of a Lake County Sexual Assault Coordinating Council to promote cooperation, coordination and communication between the agencies and individuals investigating and handling sexual assault and sexual abuse cases in Lake County, Illinois.  The Council is comprised of the Lake County State’s Attorney, the Chief Judge of Lake County, the Chairman of the Lake County Board, the Director of the Zacharias Center, the Lake County Regional Superintendent of Schools, the Lake County Sheriff  and Scariano, Himes and Petrarca’s, Lynn Himes, among others.  As part of its duties and responsibilities, the Council was charged with developing protocols for dealing with sexual assault and sexual abuse.  To that end, the Council developed Protocols for Reporting Sexual Assault/Abuse for school employees who are approached by students or others with information on sexual assault or abuse.  The protocols are designed to help district employees respond to disclosures appropriately.

The protocols set forth the guidelines for first responders to follow when they receive information regarding sexual assault or abuse.  The protocols also advise what actions must be taken by a particular school district employee, depending on their position, and provide helpful suggestions on handling disclosures and reporting abuse and neglect to DCFS.  Lastly, the protocols provide contact information for Lake County resources available to provide support in situations of sexual abuse/assault.

We recommend that all Lake County school districts follow the Lake County Sexual Assault Coordinating Council’s Protocols for Reporting Sexual Assault/Abuse and publicize the protocols to school district employees.  The Protocols for Reporting Sexual Assault/Abuse are available by clicking  here or by contacting the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office at 847/377-3000 or statesattorney@lakecountyil.gov.

If you have any questions about the protocols, please do not hesitate to contact Lynn Himes at 312/565-3100 or ahimes@edlawyer.com.

THE ILLINOIS FIREARM CONCEALED CARRY ACT PROHIBITS FIREARMS ON SCHOOL GROUNDS AND ADDS REPORTING REQUIREMENT FOR ADMINISTRATORS

By Parker Himes

Under the recently enacted Firearm Concealed Carry Act (PA 098-0063), licensed Illinois citizens will be permitted to carry concealed firearms.

While concealed carry is now generally permitted in Illinois, it will still be illegal to carry a concealed firearm on the property, including parking areas, athletic fields, etc., of pre-schools, child care facilities, and public and private elementary and secondary schools.  Property, including parking areas, athletic fields, etc., under the control of a public or private community college, other college, or university will also be off-limits.  Further, concealed carry will be prohibited in any building or portion of a building under the control of a unit of local government.  These locations are a few of the “prohibited areas” listed in the law.

Another important aspect of the law concerns a new reporting requirement for school administrators.  Under the Act, the principal of an elementary or secondary school, or the principal’s designee, and the chief administrative officer of a community college, other college, or university, or designee, must report to the Department of the State Police, within 24 hours, when a student has been deemed a “clear and present danger” to himself or others. The Act defines “clear and present danger” as a student who “demonstrates threatening physical or verbal behavior such as violent, suicidal, or assaultive threats, actions, or other behavior as determined by a physician, clinical psychologist, qualified examiner, school administrator, or law enforcement agent.”

If you have questions about the impact of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, we urge you to contact an attorney at the Firm so we may help with your specific concerns.