HALL MONITOR: “NO” on Community Schools in Nebraska (LB 1347)

Name: Nebraska LB 1347, the Community Schools Act

Summary: LB 1347 would allow schools to become “neighborhood hub[s]” that provide students with medical and mental health care. Schools would be allowed to offer nutrition, immigration, and even criminal justice services for families. 

Status: Education Committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday, February 13th at 1:30 PM CT. 

Sponsor: Senator Lynne Walz

Bill Breakdown: 

The Community Schools Act would expand the services schools provide to students and families. This could include: mental health care, dental and vision care, medical care, counseling, nutrition, assistance with immigration and English language learning, and assistance with the criminal justice system. Schools would also be able to use community school grant funding for before and after school programs. 

Why does PDE Action oppose this bill? 

PDE Action does not oppose offering services to help disadvantaged families. Students deserve adequate health care and mental health services. 

However, we must ensure that funding for medical services, like that provided through the community school model, includes proper safeguards so parents are informed about, and consent to, every stage of their child’s care. 

LB 1347 does not include proper guardrails for students and families. It’s unclear if parents will be notified about the services available to their children, or if parents will have the right to opt their children into or out of certain services.

The bill does not say whether parents will have access to documentation regarding the services their children receive, especially if outside organizations, like hospitals or local nonprofit organizations, provide services to the district. Parents already have issues accessing their kid’s school records. That problem could be exacerbated if outside organizations maintain student records.

Our partner organization, Parents Defending Education, has tracked at least two school districts in Nebraska, Bellevue and Omaha, that have parental exclusion policies. These policies state that parents may not be notified if and when their child requests to use another name and pronouns at school. 

We must protect parental rights before opening the floodgates for community schools.