Student-teacher relationship policy requirement approved

Nebraska public and private schools must create a policy that prohibits sexual contact between a teacher and a student under a bill passed by lawmakers Aug. 3.

Sen. Steve Lathrop
Sen. Steve Lathrop

LB1080, introduced by Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop, requires the school board or board of education of each school district and the governing authority of each private, denominational or parochial school to adopt a policy regarding appropriate relationships between a student and a school employee, student teacher or intern on or before June 30, 2021.

The required policy must prohibit any school employee, student teacher or intern from engaging in grooming. It also must prohibit any relationship that involves sexual contact or penetration from occurring between a student and a school employee, student teacher or intern while a student is enrolled and for a minimum of one year after a student graduates or ceases enrollment.

The policy also must include a procedure for reporting suspected grooming or other unacceptable conduct by a school employee, student teacher or intern to the school administration, the state Department of Education, the state Department of Health and Human Services and law enforcement.

Additionally, the policy must describe the preferred methods for a school employee, student teacher or intern to use in communicating with students, including cell phones, email services or social media platforms.

Finally, it must include notice that policy violations could result in disciplinary action and referral to the state Department of Education and that any violation involving sexual or other abuse will result in referral to DHHS, law enforcement or both.

Senators voted 47-0 to pass LB1080.

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