WESTCHESTER, Ill. – To help youth have a better understanding of their legal rights, state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, is sponsoring legislation to ensure that students are read their rights before police questioning and require that parents are notified before interrogation.
“Students deserve equal protection under the law,” Welch said. “Unfortunately students can unknowingly implicate themselves and other students without a full understanding of what their legal options are. Parents deserve the right to protect their children and to help them make an informed decision when talking to the police.”
House Bill 4149 provides that a student must be informed of the right not to answer any question or to make any statement in the presence of a police officer. A parent or guardian of the student must be notified of their opportunity to be present during the questioning. Additionally, students must be informed of their right to have a parent, a guardian, or an attorney present. Students should also be aware that any statement made in the presence of a police officer may result in an arrest, warrant, or disciplinary action in school.
“Children cannot be expected to handle situations that they are not mentally equipped to deal with alone,” Welch said. “Law enforcement will still have the authority to take necessary action in cases of emergency. This will help strengthen our justice system by providing a comfortable space for students to cooperate with authorities and help provide accurate information. Students should not be led into discussions without understanding the rights they have and parents are made aware of what’s going on.”
For more information, contact Welch’s constituent service office at 708-450-1000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.emanuelchriswelch.com.