Tribune Features Problem 1994 Skinner Legislation on Gathering Information on Teacher Sex/Physical Abuse Would Have Solved

Considering the legislation now being considered by the Illinois General Assembly, this article about my incredibly unsuccessful attempt to provide transparency in legislation from over twenty years ago might be of interest. The amendment was killed by over 100 votes because the teacher unions did not want it passed

This was during the day when floor amendments were allowed and did not have to have the approval of the Rules Committee prior to consideration. Back then, a state Representative could file an amendment, which had to be considered, that is, allowed a floor vote, before the bill could be passed.
This weekend the Tribune highlighted the problem of school districts not being able to find out if prospective teachers had been found to have sexually abused students.

In 2009, eight years after bringing too many boxes home my legislative office, I was doing some throwing away.

I found a roll call on an amendment I offered on June 7, 1994. It was my second year of the second half of my 16-year legislative career.

The bill was about education, so I filed an amendment that would require the DCFS to

  • “maintain a central registry of all cases in which the Director of Children and Family Services, following an investigation and hearing as provided in this Act or the Department’s rules, determines that a person who is certified as a school teacher or administrator in Illinois is a perpetrator of sexual or physical abuse of a child,
  • “the Department shall send the name of such person, by mail, to the chief administrator and president of the school board of each school district in this state and to the chief education officer of each state, the District of Columbia, and each territory of the United States.

“The Department shall make available to members of the public, upon request and without charge, copies of any information contained in the register maintained under this Section.”

I think the amendment was inspired by a former principal of Lundahl Junior High School in Crystal Lake named Virgil Lauglin, who led one of my honorary pages into a life of homosexuality, even molesting him in his Lundahl office, but it may have been a teacher there whom DCFS found had abused a student either sexually or physically or both.

When the “problem” with the principal was discovered, he was allowed to quietly resign and move to Iowa.

Exporting such “problems” or covering them up since then would have been a lot more difficult had my amendment be adopted in 1994.

Needless to say, the teachers’ unions killed the bill.

Only two besides myself were brave enough to vote for it: Bernie Pedersen and Al Salvi. Two, Terry Parke and future Congressman Jerry Weller, voted “Present.”

One of the best pieces of legislation I ever lost and earned me membership in Mike Madigan’s
“Hundred Club,” bills that received over 100 “No” votes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.