Illinois Will Stop Helping Cities Collect Some School Ticket Debt From Students


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Illinois’ top financial official has banned local governments from using a state program to collect debt from students who have been ticketed for truancy, eliminating a burden for families struggling to pay steep fines.

A number of school districts around the state, meanwhile, have begun to scale back and reevaluate when to involve law enforcement in student discipline, among them a suburban Chicago high school where Black students have been disproportionately ticketed. That school, Bloom Trail High School in Steger, said Thursday that it will stop asking police to ticket students and move to other methods of discipline.

The moves come after an investigation by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica, “The Price Kids Pay,” found that school officials and police were working together to ticket students for misbehavior at school, resulting in fines that could cost hundreds of dollars per ticket. When students or their families failed to pay, local governments sometimes turned to the state for help collecting the money.