KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Area school districts reviewed safety plans and emergency procedures ahead of the first day of school.
Some districts have made changes and improved areas, based on what they found.
But, as districts and teachers tell parents, the best approach is to work together to address concerns and other issues that may arise during the school year.
In certain situations that don’t directly involve a child’s school district, parents may decide to utilize the help of another agency or resource.
Threats of Violence
Students and parents have all heard the term “if you hear or see something, say something.” Experts say it’s better to be wrong than to ignore something that doesn’t seem quite right.
Parents are always encouraged to immediately report tips and concerns to the school district involved. Depending on the situation, it may also rise to the level of alerting a police department.
There are also additional services provided to help keep students and schools safe.
Kansas School Safety Hotline: 1-877-626-8203
The Kansas Department of Education established a Kansas School Safety Hotline. The toll-free number is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The hotline gives parents, students, and members of the community the ability to anonymously report any impending threat of school violence at anytime.
Courage2Report Hotline: 1-866-748-7047
The Missouri Highway Patrol established a safety hotline that is available to the public. Courage2Report is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It provides a confidential way to report school violence.
If the situation is an emergency, the highway patrol says to call 911 immediately, instead of the hotline.
A copy of the report is e-mailed to law enforcement and the school district official. Local law enforcement and the school district officials will determine how to most appropriately handle the situation.
Bus Stop Safety
If possible, have your child walk to the bus stop with a trusted adult who will wait until the bus arrives.
Teach your children to stand at least five steps back from the curb, line up away from the street, and board the bus one at a time.
The Kansas Highway Patrol suggests to teach students to look up at traffic, and listen, while crossing streets and put any devices in their bags while walking. Another tip from troopers is to only allow kids to use devices while on the bus, or in a vehicle.
Carpooling is often a great option for everyone, plus it saves time and gas.
The Kansas Highway Patrol says to make sure each child in the carpool has an appropriate car seat, booster seat, or seat belt. If that’s not an option, troopers say to find another way to get your kids to school.
You’ll also want to make sure you know who is actually driving your students in the carpool.
Sex Offender Registry
Kansas and Missouri both have public registries listing sex offenders who may be living near schools or bus stops, to help keep people informed.
Adults can search by area, community notifications, or name through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s site.
The site is updated every 15 minutes, but it is up to the person registered to make sure information is accurate, or they are in violation of their probation.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol is in charge of Missouri’s registry.
The information on the web site refers only to persons who have been convicted of, found guilty of or plead guilty to committing or attempting to commit sexual offenses and may not reflect the entire criminal history of a particular individual.
Safety on School Grounds
If you notice any hazard on school property, including playgrounds, notify the school or school district immediately.
Inside the Classroom
Teachers, staff and substitutes must pass a background check and a undergo fingerprint clearance before being allowed in schools.
Acts of Bullying Hotline: 1-800-332-6378
The Kansas Highway Patrol and Department of Education established a hotline to report bullying.
Trained professionals and volunteers listen to each caller’s concerns and provide the caller with resources.
The Parent and Youth Resource Hotline also has the capability to communicate with all non-English speaking callers.
In Missouri, teachers, staff and substitutes are required to undergo a criminal fingerprint and background clearance to be approved to be in a school.
Individuals with valid Missouri teaching certificates who wish to substitute teach in a school district are no longer required by DESE to apply for a substitute certificate.
Substitute teachers are required to have 36 college credits, or in certain situations, rea-world experience, a high school diploma plus a 20-hour training.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have all kinds of additional resources available online, including a step-by-step guide on how to address bullying, depending on the situation.
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