Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying announced by commissioner

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson on Tuesday announced the formation of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying.

Watson said bullying is one of the main issues he hears from parents and educators as he travels around the state visiting schools.

“Everywhere I go, parents want to discuss this. There are no easy answers,” Watson said.

Twenty-eight percent of students in grades six through 12 say they experience bullying, he said. Watson said bullying now also follows students home because of social media.

The task force will be co-chaired by Rick Ginsberg, dean of the University of Kansas School of Education, and James Regier, superintendent of Whitewater Remington USD 206. It will have 25-30 members, including legislators, experts, State Board members, students and parents. State Board member Jean Clifford, of Garden City, will serve as the State Board’s liaison. State Board members will also appoint one person from their region.

The task force will hold hearings across the state to take testimony and then will provide recommendations on policies, best practices, legislation and training to the State Board. Watson said he hopes the task force can start work next month and provide recommendations in December.

Bullying has been the focus of several legislative proposals during the 2019 session but some educators, pointing to the work of a recent task force on dyslexia, said a task force focused on bullying might be a better way to tackle the issue.

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