WHEREAS, the 137th General Assembly amended 14 Del. C. §4112 to create a mandatory obligation for public school officials to report certain crimes on school property to the appropriate local police agency so that appropriate charges would be placed against delinquent youths who threaten the learning environment of our public schools; and
WHEREAS, a lack of resources, experiences, and initiative in criminal matters is hampering school officials' responses to school crime, indicating a need for professional assistance in this realm;
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Chapter 41, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by adding new sections to read:
"Section 4112A. Office of School Criminal Offense Ombudsman.
(a) There is hereby established within the State Department of Justice, the Office of School Criminal Offense Ombudsman.
(b) The purpose of the Ombudsman is to ensure the proper administration of the school criminal offense reporting law contained in Section 4112 of this Title.
(c) The Ombudsman shall have the power to:
(1) Investigate and seek to resolve complaints made by and concerns of members of the public, school officials, and pupils regarding criminal offenses committed on school property;
(2) Investigate complaints regarding the alleged failure of school officials to report criminal offenses as required under Section 4112 of this chapter;
(3) Establish policies and procedures for eliciting, receiving, investigating, verifying, and resolving complaints; and
(4) Perform such other acts as are necessary to carry out the purpose set forth in subsection (b) of this section.
Section 4112B Ombudsman access,
(a) The Ombudsman shall have access to any school record or pupil file which is relevant to the performance of his or her duties, including any record otherwise considered confidential under Delaware law.
(a) The Ombudsman may initiate an investigation of any criminal offense committed on school property independent of the receipt of a specific complaint.
(b) The Ombudsman shall protect the confidentiality of pupils' records and files as required under Delaware law.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Ombudsman shall not disclose the identity of any complainant unless a court orders such disclosure or the complainant consents in writing to the disclosure of his or her identity.
Section 4112C.. Good faith immunity,
Persons and agencies participating in an investigation of the Ombudsman shall be immune from civil liability which may result from their good faith participation in such investigation."
Section 2. The Office of School Crime Offense Ombudsman shall provide the public with telephone access by means of a "1-800" toll-free number.