New Year, New Laws

Junior Gracey Malmberg

  The new year always brings in a wave of change from the previous year. New laws aren’t always a bad change. It will take time to get used to for the older generations to understand the need for such laws, however, the younger generations recognize that they are a much needed change.

  Governor Pritzker signed 250 new laws that took effect January 1st. These laws range from submitting test scores to mental health awareness.  

  According to the Illinois Legal Aid Online, students are allowed to take five mental health related days. These mental health days help students who are struggling and need a break from school. Students are allowed to make up any work that was missed over the absent days. If needed, students can reach out and be referred to resources regarding their mental health. 

  Social studies teacher Taylor Jackson states, “I believe mental health days are beneficial for students so that they can address their mental health needs and take time to take care of themselves. I also feel it is important for students to be good communicators when they utilize these days so they don’t fall behind in their classes as this can make them feel overwhelmed when they return to school.”

  The prohibition of discrimination of ethnic hairstyles such as locks, braids, twists, or afros is another law that came into affect in the new year. This law is put in place to allow students to freely express themselves in whatever hairstyle they choose. School handbooks will be reviewed for this, otherwise decreased funding and recognition loss from Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will result in consequences. 

  A new academic law includes allowing students to choose to submit their ACT/SAT testing scores. The Higher Education Fair Admissions Act restricts students from being required to submit standardized testing scores. The last couple of years have been tough for state testing due to the pandemic, so passing this act allows students to have more dictation over their academic life. 

   Junior Gracey Malmberg said, “I think it’s a good idea regarding the fact that it is less beneficial to gather a students intelligence through a single rigorous test score but to base it off more substantial things such as GPA, community service, and overall involvement over their high school career.”  

  As the world continues to progress, laws need to reflect this progression. Gen Z will continue changing how mental health is viewed, how people respect others, and restricting requirements.