Statewide school safety reporting system approved

Lawmakers approved a statewide school safety reporting program May 19.

Sen. Matt Williams
Sen. Matt Williams

LB322, sponsored by Gothenburg Sen. Matt Williams, requires the state Department of Education to establish a statewide, anonymous reporting system to support threat assessment teams with the goal of reducing violent incidents.

The reporting system — the Safe2HelpNE report line — allows students, school staff, parents and community members to report information about concerning behavior or possible harm to people or property anonymously and free of charge by telephone, mobile app, website or email.

The report line will be available to any public or nonpublic school that has a threat assessment team and maintains a current list of contact information for at least five team members designated to receive alerts from report line staff 24/7.

Report line staff immediately will alert the appropriate threat assessment team of any concern directly regarding a student, school staff member or school property or that is likely to impact a student, school staff member or school property.

The bill requires parental notification within a reasonable period if a report regarding a student is deemed credible, unless such notification reasonably could be believed to contribute to the endangerment of the student or others. Any information or material in the possession of the threat assessment team will remain separate from educational records.

LB322 will be funded with federal CARES Act funds through fiscal year 2022-23. The department then will conduct a cost-benefit analysis and report to the Legislature with recommendations regarding continued funding.

Senators voted 41-5 to pass the bill.

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