In Nebraska, it is up to each school district to decide security standards, but a bill before lawmakers would change that.
Recently, a few metro school districts have been taking different measures to increase school security, but state Sen. Rick Kolowski, of Omaha, wants someone to help implement those measures.
“To have someone at the state level that can give assistance to districts when they have questions or collect information from districts so we know where we stand,” said Kolowski.
Kolowski is working to pass two bills in the time remaining this legislative session.
The first is merged with a bill proposed by Sen. Amanda McGill. LB 923 establishes a state security director in the Department of Education. This person would study current security plans, and then recommend minimum standards to the State School Board, giving guidance on what is working best and what needs to be done to prevent tragedy.
“There is so much that we need to do in terms of school safety, as well as suicide prevention, and to get a bill across the finish line here in the legislature. It’s great to build coalitions,” said McGill.
Along with creating a state school security director, LB 923 mandates suicide-prevention training for Nebraska school employees.
Kolowski has another bill that would allow local school boards to add another penny on tax levies. The money would go into a school security fund, paying the bill for pricey upgrades. LB 346 stalled in committee last year and has yet to make it to the floor in 2014.
Kolowski said he’s determined to deliver needed changes.