From a sociology class project to the Illinois House floor

Many teachers and professors hope that what is taught and discussed in the classroom will influence the world outside the classroom. Here is one example of a proposed Illinois bill that was inspired by a sociology class project:

House Bill 180 was introduced by state Rep. Kay Hatcher, R-Yorkville. Currently, those engaging in disorderly conduct must stay 200 feet from a funeral for at least 30 minutes or risk being charged with a misdemeanor.

The legislation would increase the distance to 1,000 feet and the time to one hour. Those restrictions would put Illinois in line with most other Midwestern states, Hatcher said.

The legislation was inspired by a bill-writing project in a Northern Illinois University sociology class. One of the students was angered by some of the groups that had been protesting at the funerals of soldiers and other high-profile people.

At the end of the class, one of the students, Gayle Deja-Schultz of Sugar Grove, contacted Hatcher about sponsoring the bill.

“I believe everybody has a right to mourn in peace,” Deja-Schultz told the committee.

I could see using this project idea of writing a bill in the future. And then I could present this news story as inspirational evidence for what could happen.