New school security director proposed

Increasing school safety would be the focus of a new position created under a bill heard by the Education Committee Jan. 27.

LB872, introduced by Omaha Sen. Rick Kolowski, would create the position of statewide school security director within the state Department of Education. The director’s responsibilities would include:
• collecting safety and security plans from each school district;
• recommending minimum standards and encouraging their adoption by the department;
• conducting a security assessment of every school;
• identifying deficiencies and recommending remedies; and
• establishing security awareness and preparedness tools and training programs for public school staff and students.

Kolowski said families across the state are looking to legislators for leadership on the issue of school security.

“Each student is entitled to a school environment that is free from violence, abuse and fear,” he said. “We need to show our commitment to keeping their schools safe.”

Brian Halstead, representing the state Department of Education, supported the bill, saying it would address just one part of school safety.

“Currently we have no staff members that have training or background in safety and security,” he said. “If we have the resources to assist to attempt to address this on a systematic basis, we want to.”

Representing the Nebraska State Education Association, Larry Scherer testified in support of the bill.

“The issue of safety and security needs to be paramount and this is a good first step,” Scherer said.

No one testified in opposition to the bill and the committee took no immediate action on it.

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