SCHOOL SAFETY

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A plan to hire more unarmed social workers to help keep schools safe got an Illinois House OK —with substantial changes. to the original bill.

The House voted 64-25 Friday to establish a grant program for schools who hire mental health professionals to keep things calm in the hallways.

Police had objected to the idea, because originally schools would only get money if they stopped funding police officers. Hillside Democratic Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch removed that part of the bill.

Republican Rep. Peter Breen of Lombard opposed the measure. He said schools should hire more police officers to combat school shootings.

Chicago Democratic Rep. Juliana Stratton countered that putting police officers in schools isn’t the only way to keep kids safe.

The plan next goes to the Senate.

The bill is HB 4208.