Nebraska legislative committee advances school safety package

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Just days after the Nashville school shooting, the Nebraska Legislature’s Education Committee advanced a bill package designed to improve school safety. 

Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont, who is sponsoring the bill, said now more than ever, the No. 1 priority is to keep our communities safe. 

“We just experienced our 89th school shooting this year. That’s 89 school shootings out of 86 days,” Walz said.  “That’s why we need to make sure that our schools are safe for kids.” 

The measure includes recommendations from Nebraska’s School Safety Task Force. The group was formed after last year’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Under the proposal, a $15 million grant program related to security infrastructure would be created. 

“Whether it’s securing doorways, windows, cameras that are needed,” Walz said.  

It would also continue the Safe2HelpNE hotline, where people can report suspicious behaviors.  

“We want to make sure that that hotline continues because since implementation, that hotline has received over 200 calls,” Walz said. 

Two other important pieces of the bill are hiring specialists across the state to provide safety training to schools and creating a $5 million grant program to improve mental health issues.

“We wanted to make sure that we were continually keeping mental health resources at the top of the list because we all know that prevention is key,” Walz said. 

Th organization Voices of Children said having more mental health professionals in the school system will help the community be more proactive. 

“It helps have someone at school where they go every day and helps keep that stability, helps keep that assurance that they can talk to someone’s that’s safe, with someone’s that reliable,” said Anahi Salazar, policy coordinator for Voices for Children.

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