FILE - School bus

Schools across the state of Illinois will now have the option to put kids on the school bus so they don't have to walk through gang territory.

The law actually went into effect in November 2018, but the Illinois State Board of Education is just now telling schools how it will work.

Under the plan, schools will work with parents and local police departments to map blocks where school kids shouldn't walk. Then the district would figure out how to get those kids on a school bus, ISBE spokesman Tim Imler said.

"The law is going to provide an option for school districts to determine if [gang] activity is going on," Imler said. "If there is, they're going to work with local law enforcement to make that determination. And then they can choose to pick up these students through a normal bus route."

Schools usually have students who live within a mile and a half of their school walk. But this law would have the state reimburse local schools that want to bus kids through bad neighborhoods.

"Some of the resources that we've provided on our website are letters that parents can send to their school district if they believe that there is [gang] activity where the children walk to school," Imler said.

ISBE expects to see some schools take advantage of the new law next school year.


An industry veteran with two decades of experience in media, Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.