Survey shows bullying decreases slightly

Fewer students are reporting being bullied, according to the Kansas Communities That Cares survey, which was taken from November 2020 through January 2021.

The percentage of children who reported never having been bullied increased from 72 percent in 2016 to 75.7 percent. Those who said they never saw anyone being bullied increased from 41.3 percent in 2016 to 44.6 percent.

The survey was taken by 78,548 students in 246 districts and eight private schools. The survey is taken on a volunteer basis by students in sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grades and tracks use of harmful substances and anti-social behaviors.

In other business before the State Board of Education approved:

— Declaring an emergency because of the pandemic and allowing substitutes to teach regularly if they have a five-year substitute teaching license or an emergency substitute teaching license or certificate with a baccalaureate degree. This would remain in effect through the end of the school year in June. Education leaders say many districts need additional staff to keep students socially distanced and that the pandemic has made it more difficult for districts to hire and retain qualified teaching staff;

— Extending through June 30, as a voluntary option for districts, suspension of Kansas Education System Accreditation activities. Last month, the State Board gave the option to suspend KESA through the fall semester. The extension directs KSDE staff to have systems report social-emotional and academic data in their narrative reports.

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