The beginning of a new school year is often an exciting time. It can also be a stressful time. As parents we may be looking forward to watching our kids go off to the Homecoming dance or try out for the soccer team, but we may find it difficult to trust our kids safety to the school.
This fear is not unfounded; however, Nebraska has school safety laws in place to help keep all of our children safe while on school grounds.
Safety and Security Standards in Nebraska Schools
The Nebraska State Legislature recognizes the important of school safety and security. In an effort to ensure our schools are safer for all students, in 2014 the legislature passed Nebraska State Statute 79-2,144 which required the Commissioner of Education to appoint a School Security Director who, among other duties, was required to recommend minimum school security standards to the State Board of Education.
Pursuant to these recommendations, the safety and security standards that have been adopted by the Nebraska State Board of Education can be found here.
The Nebraska Department of Education Safety and Security Standards
The following are some safety standards to be aware of:
- The school system shall have processes in place to assist and address identified individuals who exhibit signs of risky, harmful, or violent behaviors and/or pose a threat of committing criminal activity.
- The school system should have behavioral threat assessment plans and protocols consistent with best practices.
- The school system shall have at least one hour of suicide prevention training for employees annually. Rev. Stat. § 79-2,146.
- The school system shall maintain health immunization records for all students. Rev. Stat. § 79-217.
- The school system shall conduct annual safety audits using external consultants. Learn more about these annual reviews here.
- The school system should develop, train, and follow security and visitor protocols in alignment with Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS).
- The school system should develop and implement security and visitor policies and protocols for specialized areas (e.g., pools, gyms, prekindergarten, playgrounds, fences, vehicles/buses, vehicle facilities, bus barns, science labs, sporting venues, cafeterias, kitchens, classrooms with exterior doors, portables, etc.).
Our schools have a duty to keep our kids safe. The above lists only a few of the important safety and security protocols that Nebraska schools must implement and follow.
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Matthew G. Miller serves clients throughout Eastern Nebraska and parts of Western Iowa including Douglas County, Sarpy County, Lancaster County, and Pottawattamie County, as well as the cities of Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Elkhorn, and Council Bluffs.