State education officials blamed a “misunderstanding” for failing to maintain records on whether districts are complying with school safety drill policies. 

The State Fire Marshal and other agencies also did not have access to records to follow-up with districts whose safety precautions fell short, according to a review by the Illinois Auditor General.

Auditors wrote: The failure “could jeopardize the safety of schools statewide.”

“The horrible tragedy in Uvalde reminds us to be vigilant, to ensure our safety plans are up-to-date and safety protocols are followed,” state school superintendent Carmen Ayala wrote school leaders Wednesday. “Please take this moment to review your safety plans and protocols.”

Read the Full Audit here (pdf)

State didn’t track dangerous schools for years:

Fifteen years after state law was enacted to track particularly dangerous schools, a new audit found the Illinois State Board of Education has failed to do so for nearly the entire time. 

The law was meant to track schools with exceptionally high incidences of student expulsions for violence-related conduct, expulsions for bringing a gun to school or transfers by students who were the victims of violent crimes.  The Illinois Auditor General found the state board of education “has not maintained data or published an annual listing of persistently dangerous schools since the law’s effective date.” 

The Illinois State Board of Education responded by acknowledging the failure and saying it began posting information on “persistently dangerous schools,” as they’re known, in 2019 and said no schools have met the criteria in the two academic years that have been reported.

School bullying:

The review also found the Illinois State Board of Education failed to adequately monitor the implementation of anti-bullying policies. State officials said they lacked employees and technology to fully monitor legally-mandated bullying prevention efforts. 

An ISBE spokesperson said problems have been addressed. The agency has now reviewed bullying policies for 90% of public school districts; but 8% of districts have not submitted their reports, according to ISBE.