Illinois Senate approves proposal for mental health excused absences


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois Senators passed a proposal Thursday that could allow students to use excused absences for mental health reasons.

Sponsors hope this proposal can help people recognize the legitimacy of mental health issues and finally address the stigma they carry. Under this bill, students could take up to five days off for mental health or behavioral issues.

While this plan already passed unanimously out of the House, Sen. Rob Martwick (D-Chicago) worked on an amendment with several advocates and lawmakers with social work backgrounds. If a student misses two days of school for mental health, they could be referred to counselors or other appropriate support staff.

“This is to make sure we are using our due diligence to ensure that these children are getting the support that they need,” Martwick said.

Many feel this change can help students returning to school, especially after many struggled throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senators passed the proposal unanimously Thursday afternoon. It now heads back to the House for quick approval of the amendment. Then the bill can head to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk for his signature of approval

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