ELGIN – School officials and law enforcement authorities in Illinois will be allowed to share juvenile criminal records on a limited basis under an Illinois law signed Monday, legislation that was sparked by a 2008 knife attack on a suburban Chicago teacher.
Law enforcement records can be shared orally but can't become a part of the student's records or public records, according to the new law. Also, authorities can provide information to schools "only if the agency or officer believes that there is an imminent threat of physical harm to students, school personnel, or others who are present in the school or on school grounds."
Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill into law at Elgin High School. It goes into effect next year.
"Our children and their teachers deserve to go to school everyday feeling safe," the Chicago Democrat said in a statement.
The move was praised by Elgin teacher Carolyn Gilbert, who lost an eye in 2008 when a then-teenage student under investigation for two other attacks came at her with a knife.
Gilbert, a family and consumer science teacher, told the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald that she believes the attack could have been prevented.
"It may not have happened to me if there would have been that communication, because he'd had those other problems with the law," she told the newspaper. "If we'd known about that I would have never, ever been in the room alone with him."
Angel Facio, now 20, pleaded guilty to attempted murder for the attack on Gilbert, who was hospitalized for injuries to her head, neck and eye. The following year, a case involving Facio and allegations of attempted abduction of a young teen was dismissed. He then pleaded guilty to a 2007 sexual assault on a child neighbor.
Facio is serving prison sentences at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, according to state prison records.