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The Illinois House passed a proposal from state Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) that would require CPS students to wash their hands with antiseptic before meals at school.
The proposal would help reduce the spread of illness and, in turn, reduce student absenteeism and improve learning, Flowers said.
"Hand-washing is crucial for public health . . . but we're not doing a good job when it comes to teaching our children that," she said.
State code already mandates that children be taught proper hand-washing techniques.
As such, CPS is balking at the plan, calling it unnecessary. "I think our principals and teachers treat that issue with the seriousness that it deserves," CPS spokesman Mike Vaughn said. "I don't think they need a piece of legislation to provide that direction."
Most CPS cafeterias already have hand-sanitizing gel and posted instructions on proper hand-washing techniques.
A handful of legislators thought Flowers' perhaps well-intentioned bill was overkill.
"It's a good idea that kids wash their hands before they eat, obviously, but I don't think that's the kind of thing we need to legislate," state Rep. Joe Dunn (R-Naperville) said. "Every good idea doesn't have to be a law. People are responsible for themselves."