school xing SPRINGFIELD – A measure introduced by State Senator James F. Clayborne, Jr. (D-Belleville) would allow students to take the bus if their route to school passes through high-crime neighborhoods.

House Bill 5195 would allow a school district to claim reimbursement if it provides free transportation to students living within one and a half miles of their school that have to walk through an area with a “course or pattern of criminal activity” as defined by law enforcement.

“Students should be able to get to school without the fear of becoming a victim of gang violence,” Clayborne said. “This measure will protect these kids and let them focus on their studies instead of fear their commute to school.”

Current law already allows a school to offer free transportation to students within one and a half miles of the school if they have to pass heavy traffic or railroad tracks.

Under the proposed legislation, local law enforcement would define which areas are considered to have patterns of criminal activity.

A student’s parent or guardian could also petition the school board to have a specific area considered to have a pattern of criminal activity. The school board’s decision would require approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation, The Illinois state Board of Education and local law enforcement.

HB 5195 passed the Senate Education Committee and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

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