Bertino Tarrant2016cPLAINFIELD – A group of Will County public officials met last week to examine how the community addresses the safety of students.

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) applauded the efforts taken by community stakeholders to be proactive in preventing school violence. She was joined by several elected officials, school administrators and area police chiefs at the forum.  

“We need to work together to create a school atmosphere that promotes our children’s general well-being. Schools should be a safe place,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

The group discussed the use of School Resource Officers and Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton said he is studying the cost of giving all local schools their own SRO.

Joliet West High School has formed a group comprised of teachers, social workers and deans to identify changes in student’s behavior patterns. All school districts that participated cited their close relationships with community police departments.

“Providing open and honest discussions with our school communities makes us safer,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This meeting will help us continue to work together to ensure our children can focus on their education and feel secure in their schools.”

Other elected officials at the meeting include State Representatives Natalie Manley and Larry Walsh Jr., Crest Hill Mayor Ray Soliman and Romeoville Mayor John Noak.

School administrators include Dr. Cheryl McCarthy, Ilandus Hampton, Teresa Bibson and Brian Shaw of JTHS 204; Dr. Lane Abrell and Tom Hernandez of Plainfield 202; Laura Johnston of IPSD204; and Tamara Mitchell of Joliet Elementary 86.

The police chiefs include Brian Benton of Joliet, Jeff Burgner of Oswego, Aaron Klima of Shorewood and Mark Turvey of Romeoville.

“I’m pleased with the discussion at this meeting. Conversations like this allow us to come up with creative solutions in a changing world,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

20180314 KS 3900 RSCHICAGO – Members of the joint Illinois Senate and House Education Committee met Wednesday to address the findings of a Chicago Tribune investigation which detailed improper reporting of sexual misconduct in Chicago schools.

The investigation found 72 Chicago Public Schools employees were accused of misconduct over a 10-year period and not properly reported to authorities. Several went on to commit abuses at Chicago Public Schools and many were hired again elsewhere even after being investigated.

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood), chairwoman of the Senate’s education committee, is calling for urgent action to institute proper protocols to ensure this never happens again.

“It is unacceptable that sexual predators were not only near our children, but in positions of trust,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Everyone should be angry that these abusers were able to prey on students because of insufficient oversight.”

Bertino-Tarrant invited advocates and stakeholders to Wednesday’s hearing to discuss how to close loopholes and instate stronger policies. First on the list was properly sharing information with other school districts and completing more thorough background checks on prospective employees.      

Two survivors of sexual assault at CPS presented testimony to illustrate the injustices they experienced while at school.

“I was pulled from class to sit alone in a room with an old man who asked not how I felt or what they could do to make me feel safe in my school again, but what I was wearing when I had been assaulted,” said survivor, Morgan Aranda, now 22. “Do you know what it’s like to be made to feel like a criminal, when you are in fact the victim?”
There was a common theme of insensitivity toward students who reported their abusers. The victims were not given emotional support and were left in the dark regarding updates on the investigation.

Victims did not know if or when the educators would be removed from the classroom and they were interrogated without advocates or parents present. The Chicago Police Department was not notified by CPS administrators in either case.  

“Every word of these testimonies was heartbreaking,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

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04252017CM1305rPLAINFIELD— Credit reporting agencies will no longer be able to charge Illinois residents who want to freeze their report reports due to system hacking or stolen information, thanks to a measure supported by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

House Bill 4095, which will allow consumers to protect themselves in a cost-effective and timely manner, was signed into law on Friday.

“As a society, we rely on online systems to do everyday tasks. At times citizens are at the mercy of these credit reporting agencies,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Dealing with the aftermath of massive security breaches is time-consuming and devastating. Will County residents who were unwitting victims of the 2017 Equifax security breach dealt with frustrating and often expensive processes to secure their information. This is simply unacceptable.”

The Equifax security breach that happened in September of 2017 compromised information such as names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's license numbers. This breach is very concerning as such sensitive information can be used for identity theft.

“This new law will streamline the process and eliminate costly fees to put the needs of consumers ahead of corporations,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “My goal is to empower residents to make sound financial decisions in a quick and cost-effective manner.”  

House Bill 4095 will no longer allow consumer reporting agencies to impose a charge on consumers for placing a freeze, removing a freeze, or temporarily lifting a freeze on their credit reports.

Previously, consumer reporting agencies were allowed to charge up to $10 each time a consumer wished to take these proactive actions.

This new law will not only eliminate fees, but would also allow Illinois residents to initiate or remove a freeze by telephone and through electronic methods.
House Bill 4095 goes into effect immediately.

Town Hall 6.12.18BOLINGBROOK— Area legislators will host their annual town hall meeting to update local residents on important legislative issues from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 12 at the Fountaindale Library.

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) will be joined by State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill), Representative Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) and Representative John Connor (D-Lockport) at the meeting, which will allow residents to ask questions or share concerns.

“I look forward to this annual town hall meeting. Whenever community members are willing to take valuable time out of their busy day to take part in these dialogues it is a win for all of us involved,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Government works best when there is constant conversation and we work together as a team to tackle important issues that we are facing in our communities and state.”

The joint town hall meeting is free and open to the media and public. There are a number of important issues the General Assembly has tackled this year such as gun control legislation, passing a bipartisan budget that funds schools, legislative ethics reforms and stronger protections for sexual assault survivors.

"What do you want from your state government?  Come tell us June 12." McGuire said.

Connor is newly appointed to the 85th House District.

"I look forward to discussing my first year in the legislature and the issues facing the district with my constituents at the town hall," Connor said.

Manley and Bertino-Tarrant have worked together to alleviate the teacher shortage this year and have made huge strides at eliminating red tape in the licensure process.

“Over the past several months, many constituents have reached out to our offices to ask questions about legislation and share their concerns about the state,” Manley said. “Now, we want to have the opportunity to let you know about what we have been working on and provide an update on other big issues we have been working on in Springfield.”

For information or to submit questions ahead of time, contact Bertino-Tarrant’s Plainfield office at 815-254-4211.

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Springfield, IL 62706 
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Plainfield, IL 60544 
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