Best practices adopted for school resource officers

Lawmakers passed a bill April 18 that establishes statewide standards for school resource officers.

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks
Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks

LB390, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, requires the state Department of Education to develop a model memorandum of understanding to govern the use of school resource officers or security guards, beginning Jan. 1, 2021.

The MOU will include training requirements for all school resource officers or security guards employed by a district as well as at least one administrator. The training will include at least 20 hours focused on school-based law enforcement, student rights, understanding students with special needs and disabilities, conflict de-escalation techniques, ethics for school resource officers, teenage brain development, adolescent behavior, implicit bias training, diversity and cultural awareness, trauma-informed responses and violence prevention in school settings.

A school district is required to maintain records of each student referral for prosecution by a school resource officer, including the reason for each referral and federally identified demographic characteristics of each student.

A district also is required to identify when a parent or guardian will be notified if a student is questioned or interrogated, and under what circumstances a student will be advised of their constitutional rights. Each MOU will include a complaint process for students and parents to express concern about a school resource officer or his or her practices.

School districts have the option to develop individual MOUs, but they must be substantially similar to the one distributed by the department. Any district required to adopt an MOU, also is required to provide a copy to the department or publicly post it to the school district’s website.

The bill passed on a 48-0 vote.

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