QUINCY -- A new Illinois law requires that a parent or designated advocate must be present if a student is questioned at Illinois schools.
Adams County Assistant State's Attorney Jamie Friye said though the new law, which was signed into law in August, is straight forward, it is a significant change in how juveniles suspected of committing a crime are dealt with school.
"It was pretty well established in case law prior to that being questioned at school by. A liaison officer or school resource officer was not a custodial situation, so they didn't have to contact their parents and they didn't have to do anything differently than if you were at home," Friye said. "Now, they have to make a diligent attempt to contact your parents, they have to document that attempt to contact the parents, and they have to make reasonable efforts to make sure your parent can be there with them."
Police also must attempt to get a juvenile officer present, which Friye said is a best practice anyway.
"I can't think of a school resource officer that's not a juvenile officer as well, so that's not really a big deal," she said.
All school districts in Adams County receive a letter from the state's attorney's office informing them of the change.
"Previously, they could just take you out of class, ask you questions and never contact a parent," Friye said.
The law was enacted after a suburban Chicago high school student committed suicide after a police officer interrogated him about an alleged sex tape.
Exemptions are included the law in the event of that immediate action is needed, such as a student being armed or attempting to dispose evidence.
In the event that a parent is unable to attend, by law, they are able appoint an advocate for their child, and if a parent can't be reached, the school's must provide an advocate such as counselor.