Uptick in Kansas City area school violence has parents concerned, students afraid

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The past few weeks, FOX4 has covered issues of violence in schools on both sides of the state line.

From fights, threats and even guns brought to schools, this year is proving to be difficult for metro school, for a number of reasons as students return to in-person learning.

“I’ve taken my son out of the school, because I don’t feel like he’s safe up there,” said mother of former Hogan High student, Katherine Key. “It seems to be one thing after the other.”

She became increasingly alarmed after two guns were brought to the high school in two separate incidents.

One student was seen with a gun in the high school’s parking lot, four days later, another gun confiscated from a trunk.

An email sent to parents to remind their children, not to bring weapons to school. An obvious offense.

“I know at the beginning of the year, they handed out clear backpacks. I don’t know about other parents, to me with guns being brought to school and my son having his vehicle, broken into, that wasn’t good enough,” said Key. “Where is the security, you are telling parents there is security at the schools. Something needs to change.”

According to school officials, they are changing.

A Hogan High representative said they are taking a restorative approach to the situation.

They’ve reportedly made significant changes to the dismissal procedures, monitoring who pulls into the parking lot and teachers and coaches are assisting the security guard on maintaining peace.

Districts metro-wide are reporting an increase in school violence, some credit the pandemic for social and emotional stress.

Hogan HS said for the first time they have a dedicated person on staff for social and emotional support. They also recently received a grant that will support student’s mental health.

The Hickman Mills School district says they are working with various community organizations to provide support for students.

Last month violent brawls recorded by students and posted on social media were circulating online.

In a statement to FOX4, they said this:

The Hickman Mills C-1 School District acknowledges that the transition into school buildingsunder our green health status at the start of the school year has not been an easy one for some of our students. Still, we see that the majority of students are committed to their academics by working collaboratively in groups, being a resource for each other, getting to class on time, working on their grades and joining extracurricular activities.

The district is committed to collaborating with students, parents and staff to continue to promote safe, positive relationships that maximize academic success and ensure each student receives a great education.

One of those efforts includes a district-wide bullying prevention program that annually communicates topics of a safe and supportive school environment, cyberbullying, engaging school administration, parental involvement and the enforcement of the code of conduct.

Conversations about how to improve school safety throughout our schools are continuous, and include discussions regarding conflict resolution, traffic plans for hallways, and efforts to build strong relationships between students, staff, parents and the community.

“Something needs to change. I sent my child to school thinking they are safe. Hoping for the best, pray for your children,” Key said.

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