The state's School Incident Reporting System is considered the only comprehensive way for a parent in Illinois to find out the types, details, and numbers of instances of drug violations, assaults, and weapons violations at their child's school.
But if yours is one of the nearly 70 percent of Chicago-area schools that have not filed reports with SIRS, there is no real way for you to know exactly what is going on.
NBC5 Investigates obtained a list of all incidents reported to the SIRS database in the past two-and-a-half years, and found more than 6,600 reports of assaults, drugs, and weapons, reported by a total of 646 schools throughout Chicago and the suburbs, since the fall of 2011.
But that leaves a total of 1,478 Chicago and suburban area schools which apparently choose not to disclose their incidents through this state reporting system. And although state law requires schools to report all such incidents to both local police and the Illinois State Police, the law does not make it clear that schools need to file reports directly through SIRS - even though that's the only comprehensive way for a parent to find out what is going on at their school.
NBC5 Investigates has compiled this list of all Chicago and suburban schools, showing which schools disclose their incidents through the Student Incident Reporting System, and which do not.
The list is compiled from the Illinois State Board of Education database, and includes all schools in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties. Schools are listed alphabetically. You can scroll through this list or use the "find" function on your computer to look for a particular school, or for all schools in a particular town.
If your school does report to SIRS, you can find numbers and statistics for your school online.
But to find out details about the actual incidents behind those numbers, you will need to file a Freedom of Information request, asking for details on all incidents - within a specified time period - for the schools you are interested in.
The National Freedom of Information Coalition has a sample FOIA letter which you can use to shape your request.
Send your FOIA request to: Freedom of Information Office; Illinois State Board of Education; 100 North First Street; Springfield, IL 62777-0001; ATTN: FOIA Request. You can also choose to e-mail your FOIA request to FOIA@isbe.net, or fax it to ISBE at 217-524-8585.