In a proactive measure to help prevent future school shootings and attacks before they happen, legislation sponsored by State Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove) allows for law enforcement officers to obtain a mental health evaluation for individuals who have threatened violence against a school or school event, and are believed to be a danger to others or themselves.
“The recent school shootings across the country are a frightening wake-up call for the public and for local and state governments to take action in improving school safety, and preventing our schools from falling victim to senseless violence,” said Curran. “Law enforcement, schools and classmates must take every threat of violence seriously. If the police officers sense there is truth and danger in the threat, they can help address possible issues in mental health of the individual before they commit a horrendous act.”
Senate Bill 563 states that a law enforcement officer may, in place of making an arrest, elect to obtain a mental health evaluation for an individual who has made a threat of violence, death or bodily harm against a person, school, school function or school event from a physician, clinical psychologist or qualified examiner.
“This legislation also considers violent threats made on social media to be an equally severe and legitimate threat to the public—as cyber threats are growing in frequency,” said Curran. “If we, as a community, report violent threats we hear or see—whether they’re in-person, in passing, online or over the phone—we can spot signs of other violent behaviors early and potentially prevent future attacks.”
The Senate approved the safety measure on April 26, and it will now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.