SPRINGFIELD, IL. (ECWd) –
Illinois State Representative Terra Costa Howard introduced House Bill 4151, with the following Representatives as Co-Sponsors: Daniel Didech, Ann M. Williams, Bob Morgan, Margaret Croke, Sam Yingling, Kathleen Willis and Anne Stava-Murray
HB4151 will make it a crime to orally protest, pass out flyers or handbills, carry a sign, or protest within 300 feet of a school zone.
This is nothing more than an attack on the First Amendment.
People have a first amendment right to peacefully protest, and we can see a scenario where school officials will be determining which types of protests, signs, or handbills they will allow, and also where they consider those with opposing views as criminals.
Particularly at a time when were are seeing more students protesting or staging walk-outs (recent examples are here, here, here, here, here), this Bill does not exempt students or employees of the school from criminal prosecution by simply protesting or carrying a sign in a school zone.
Time will tell if amendments are introduced to exempt students or to bastardize the definition of “protest.”
Synopsis As Introduced:
Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Creates the offense of disorderly conduct in a school zone. Provides that a person commits the offense when he or she: (1) knowingly displays signs, engages in oral protest, education, or passing leaflets or handbills within 300 feet of school premises, from one hour prior to the start of the school day until one hour after the school day ends; or (2) knowingly approaches within 8 feet of an individual who is within 300 feet of school premises for purposes of displaying signs, engaging in oral protest, education, or passing leaflets or handbills, from one hour prior to the start of the school day until one hour after the school day ends. Provides that disorderly conduct in a school zone is a Class A misdemeanor. Defines “school”. Contains a severability provision. Effective immediately.