Illinois schools eliminating zero-tolerance policies

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois schools are now required to limit long-term suspensions and expulsions under a new law that also eliminates the use of zero-tolerance policies used to severely punish students for certain offenses.

The law that took effect last week is designed to reduce the number of days students are pulled from classrooms and encourage school administrators to use suspensions as a last resort.

Sen. Kimberly Lightford sponsored the law. The Chicago Democrat says she wants it to help schools think more about how to keep students in an academic setting.

Illinois lawmakers passed the bill with overwhelming support last year. States have been rethinking the zero-tolerance policies that gained prominence following the mass shooting at Colorado’s Columbine High School in 1999.