ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A bill, passed by Illinois legislators, would require Illinois schools to create a policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment of students because of race.

Senate Bill 90 was filed by Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford), who said his goal was to make sure every school in the state takes a public stand against racism.

“A November 2021 report found that hate crimes in schools increased by 81% from 2016 to 2018,” West said, according to The Center Square.

“Here in Illinois, we will not tolerate racism or discrimination within schools – period.” said West. “But as we continue to see a rise in incidents of hateful conduct across our country, it is clear that our actions need to match our words. That’s why the Racism-Free Schools Act is so important, because it will not only require districts to create and implement a policy on discrimination and harassment, but also help the state track incidents of racism so we can better address concerning conduct across our state.”

Critics have blamed a greater focus on identity politics in American discourse and school curricula for giving rise to racial animosity.

The bill would require each institution of elementary, secondary, or higher education shall establish, implement, and maintain a continuing race-related discrimination and harassment program.

Under the bill, the Illinois Department of Human Rights would be required to model a training program to prevent discrimination and harassment in elementary and high schools.

The bill, if signed into law, would also make the failure of a school to take disciplinary action against a harassing student a civil rights violation.

The bill would apply to public, private and charter schools in Illinois.