Nebraska Department of Education Requires Schools to Be Better Safe Than Sorry

Most members of the Nebraska education community know that the

Nebraska Department of Education has adopted new School Safety and

Security Standards and related guidance. You can access the new Standards

and the related NDE guidance documents here. Schools will need to begin

working to assess their compliance with these Standards throughout the

2016-17 school year.

The safety and security standards are broken down into four distinct

subject areas:

Prevention: Aimed at preventing incidents;

Preparedness: Targeted at limiting incident casualties, destruction,

and chaos;

Response: Intended planning to respond to an incident; and

Recovery: Designed actions to return the climate and environment to

pre-incident conditions.

Each of these four standard areas is then broken down into discrete

indicators. There are a total of 50 distinct implementation indicators, each

of which schools must self-assess and report to the State School Security


Potential Confusion with Safety Committees

One potential source of confusion in the School Safety and Security

Standards is the requirement that each district appoint a safety committee

to conduct the self-assessment and to craft an All-Hazards Plan. In 1993,

the Nebraska Legislature enacted a statute which requires each employer to

have a “safety committee.” See NEB. REV. STAT. § 48-443; 230 NEB. ADMIN. CODE,

Chapter 6, Sections 2(A) and 2(B). The purpose of these safety committees

is to “reduce worker' compensation costs for all employers through

enhanced safety and health in the workplace.” 230 NEB. ADMIN. CODE, Chapter

6, Section 3(A). These safety committees are required to meet at least once

every three months to develop ideas regarding to reduce hazards affecting

work place safety. Most schools and school attorneys have referred to these

committees as “safety committees” over the last 20 years. However, these

committees do not typically meet with local law enforcement, discuss how to

respond to possible school shooters, address school climate or perform any

of the tasks that are required by the School Safety and Security Standards.

Each board of education should consider how it will distinguish

between the “safety committee” required by NEB. REV. STAT. § 48-443 and the

“safety committee” required by the School Safety and Security Standards.

The board should also consider if it would be useful to require the two

committees to confer so that the two groups don’t duplicate each other’s


Other Possible Policy Revisions

Obviously, each school will have to review its existing All-Hazards Plan

and those plans will likely require substantial revisions. Additionally, most

boards of education will need to review and consider revisions to several of

their policies. Some of the policies which you should review in light of the


Denial of Access to School Premises or Activities

Threat Assessment

Suicide Prevention Training


Dating Violence

Student Bullying

Student Assistance Team Procedures

We have worked with Jolene Palmer, the State School Security Officer, to

assist schools in preparing to comply with these standards and updating our

policies. If you have additional questions about compliance with the Safety

and Security Standards, you should consult with Ms. Palmer, your school

district’s attorney, or call Karen, Steve, or Bobby.