Nebraska has 244 public school districts educating nearly 324,000 children. Approximately twenty-four percent of Nebraska public school students are people of color. Consistent with national trends, students of color are disproportionately overrepresented in schools contracting with law enforcement agencies to place police in schools. According to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) data, during the 2015-2016 school year, 1,502 Nebraska students in public schools with school police were referred to law enforcement by their school. Additionally, some counties in Nebraska have schools with police, but no counselor, social worker, or nurse.
In Nebraska, consistent with national trends, there is a growing practice of using police officers in our schools. Despite this trend, there is no state-specific data on school police aside from the federal data collected by the OCR. The OCR requires schools to report the demographic data of those students referred to law enforcement and the number of law enforcement officers found in each school district, yet it does not track other important metrics. As reflected in this report, we have an incomplete, yet disturbing picture of these programs.