The state’s Make Sexual Abuse Fully Extinct (Make S.A.F.E.) Task Force created in 2019 to address issues concerning the sexual abuse of students in school-related settings has issued its final report to Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly, task force member and State Rep. Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) announced today. The report includes 21 specific recommendations to better protect students, following 12 months of hearings with educators, victim advocates and other stakeholders.
“Over this past year we listened, we brainstormed, and we came together not as Republicans or Democrats, but as mothers and fathers from all walks of life dedicated to one purpose, eradicating the sexual abuse and exploitation of Illinois students,” Rep. Keicher said. “We were deeply troubled by the harrowing revelations of sexual abuse in the Chicago Public Schools system in recent years and the need to make absolutely certain that we close the gaps in protecting children from this day forward. Within my own family, I have seen firsthand the devastation sexual abuse can have on the life of a child. The abject horror my cousin was subjected to that our family was unaware of at the time and the struggles she faced her entire life as a result cannot be put into words. Now that we have issued our final report, I am ready and eager to work with the Governor, the State Board of Education, and my colleagues in the legislature to take swift action to implement the task force’s recommendations.”
The Make S.A.F.E. Task Force reviewed best practices for preventing the sexual abuse of students in a school-related setting or by school-related perpetrators, including school district employees or other students, how to best address that abuse, and the proper support for students who have suffered from that abuse. The review examined the best practices at all schools maintaining prekindergarten through grade 12, regardless of whether the school is a public school, nonpublic school, or charter school.
“This task force took on a very important mission to address sexual and physical abuse of children. Even when the pandemic interrupted their work, the two dozen members switched to virtual meetings and continued collaborating to create a toolkit that will help us move quickly and appropriately to support victims, protect students from abuse, and hold perpetrators accountable,” said Dr. Carmen Ayala, State Superintendent of Education. “Sexual abuse is one of the most harmful and heartbreaking tragedies that can happen to a child, yet it is also one of the most under-reported crimes in this country. This task force has put forth best practices that will guard our children and strengthen our communities.”
To view a copy of the Make S.A.F.E. Task Force report and the 21 recommendations in their entirety, please visit https://www.isbe.net/Documents_MSAFE/Make-SAFE-Final-Report-20200903.pdf
The Make S.A.F.E. Task Force was created by Public Act 101-0531, signed into law by Governor Pritzker on August 23, 2019.