Student Issues

Research-based threat assessment key to stopping school violence, KASB’s Weseman says

Research-based threat assessments are key to stopping violence in schools and will be the focus of upcoming workshops at KASB. KASB’s Randy Weseman, a former school superintendent who has studied extensively violence in schools, will conduct three sessions next month on making schools safer: “What Every Board Member Should Know About Safe and Secure Schools.” In an interview with WIBW, Weseman said the training focuses on opening lines of communication and trust between schools, law enforcement, staff, students and parents. That way, threats can be known and evaluated. "In early work by the Secret Service, that developed the original threat assessment model,...

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KASB Live: Threat assessments in schools — workshops available in September and team training in October

Research suggests the best way to address violence in schools is to implement evidence-based threat assessment models to try to stop incidents from happening or escalating. In this KASB Live video, Randy Weseman, assistant executive director for operations and leadership services at KASB, talks about why schools should focus on opening lines of communication and trust between schools, law enforcement, staff, students and parents. Studies have shows that in nearly nine out of 10 instances of school violence, someone, if not many people, had information about the perpetrator’s intentions but the information didn’t make it to those who could take action...

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State Board of Education approves mental health grants

More Kansas schools and students will be benefiting from state mental health grants. Earlier this week, the State Board of Education approved $3.8 million to school districts and $2 million to local community health centers for the Mental Health Intervention Team Program for the 2019-20 school year. The effort started last year as a pilot program to increase mental health services for students. Nine districts benefitted from the pilot program last year. Now funds will be going to 31 districts to hire school liaisons who will coordinate services for students between the staff, parents and mental health centers and will also provide...

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Officials raising awareness of school bus law; may seek changes to make it easier to enforce

Alarmed by the number of motorists who drive by stopped school buses that are displaying flashing red lights and have extended the mechanical stop arm, officials are trying to raise awareness of the law and are considering changes in the law to make it easier to enforce. “School bus safety should be a top priority year-round,” said Keith Dreiling, director of the Kansas State Department of Education’s School Bus Safety Unit. “It is the responsibility of everyone to make sure Kansas students remain safe. School buses remain very safe, but we know that student passengers are most vulnerable when they...

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Plan floated to replace 10th grade state test with ACT in 11th grade

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson is floating the idea of having all Kansas students take the ACT in 11th grade instead of the state assessments in math and English in 10th grade.  Watson briefed the State Board of Education about the proposal on Tuesday. Several board members had questions about the idea, which has been explored in a number of other states.   Board Chair Kathy Busch asked Watson to provide an update on the issue next month and then possibly bring it to the board in October for some kind of action.  Watson said he would reach out to school superintendents at...

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Kansas will consider raising age to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes

Officials said Tuesday they will seek an increase in the minimum age in Kansas to purchase tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, from 18 to 21. Education and health officials say the change is needed because of the drastic increase in young people vaping, or using e-cigarettes. “It has exploded. It is an epidemic,” said Mark Thompson, a program consultant with the Kansas State Department of Education. Officials told the State Board of Education that a bill to raise the age is being prepared for the 2020 Kansas legislative session, which starts in January. The proposal coincides with increasing efforts by education and health...

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Officials brief State Board of Education on Suspicious Activity Reporting system

State officials Tuesday provided details on the Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) system to report anonymously possible safety issues. The briefing to the State Board of Education was made as schools across the state start a new school year. Safety officials have been working to create one repository to analyze possible threat information. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has been working with the Kansas Highway Patrol, which responds to the Kansas School Safety Hotline, to copy information they receive and upload it to SAR. New posters will be provided to school districts that include the Kansas School Safety hotline (1-800-626-8203); the Parent and...

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Inaugural Advanced Advocacy Training Institute class announced

Ten education leaders have been selected to take a deep dive into the world of public school advocacy in KASB’s inaugural class of the Advanced Advocacy Training Institute.   “We are excited to have such a diverse group of individuals that bring a wide range of knowledge and expertise to the first year of the program,” said Rob Gilligan, KASB’s Government Relations Specialist.  The AATI will focus on public education advocacy. Advocacy for education doesn’t just happen at the Statehouse in Topeka. It is a local issue, and each community needs champions - both within the public education system and outside of...

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Court order on transgender bathrooms may increase requests

A recent federal court order against a Virginia school district may increase requests from parents of transgender students for access to restrooms corresponding to the student’s gender identity. The ruling said the Gloucester County School Board’s transgender bathroom ban against a former student violated the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause and Title IX, which is the federal policy that protects against gender-based discrimination. The board’s policy had required, Gavin Grimm, a transgender male who has since graduated high school, to use girls’ restrooms or private restrooms. The court also ordered the school board to update Grimm’s official school transcript to identify...

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School security, vaping on State Board of Education’s agenda

As a new school year starts across Kansas, the State Board of Education on Tuesday will receive updates on school security and student use of e-cigarettes. Here is a link to the board’s agenda and background materials. E-cigarette use increased 48 percent among middle school students and 78 percent among high school students between 2017 and 2018, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Currently, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students across the United States used e-cigarettes in 2018. These increases have led the Surgeon General and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human...

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