After losing 18 students to violence during the past year, the Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Education says, “Enough is enough!”
In a proclamation read at Tuesday night’s KCK school board meeting, vice president Wanda Brownlee Paige said the board and school district are asking students and the community to commit to the issue of stopping violence. Blue ribbons will be placed throughout the community to show their support of ending violence.
The statement read by Paige at the board meeting Tuesday night:
“We as members of the Kansas City, Kansas School Board want to discuss a growing problem within our community. To be transparent, over the past year our district has lost 18 of our students. Students who would be focused on their futures: heading to college, their first job, and so much more. While not every tragedy was caused the same way, the majority of our students have died due to gun violence, in fact eleven students in less than a year.
“Today, we the board declare “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.” We along with the entire school district are asking all of YOU to commit to the future of our students, to commit to speaking up when something is wrong, and to commit to making a difference.
“This is not just a Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools issue, this is a community issue that we know by working together we can change the outcome of. That is why we are asking not just families and students to sign our pledge for change but for members of our community to join us in making an impact in the lives of our students. You can find the pledge by visiting enough.kckps.org
“Soon you will start seeing blue ribbons pop up around our community. That ribbon is just one sign to remind each and every one of us of the commitment we are entering into. In the coming weeks, the district will be announcing additional projects to help curb the violence, educate our families and students, and promote student involvement in leading the change.
“We thank you for your commitment, and we ask that each of you stay safe.
Randy Lopez- Board President
Wanda Kay Paige- Vice President
Dr. Valdenia Winn
Dr. Stacy Yeager”
Later at Tuesday night’s meeting, which was a remote meeting on Zoom, the school board approved a memorandum of agreement with Future Leaders Outreach Network, Young Leaders of Distinction, program that will help provide students with skills to become effective leaders and make healthy choices. The program has already been operating in the district.
The program is free to the school district and is funded by federal grants, according to Dr. Diana Clemons, who is with the program.
The program emphasizes several skills and has goals including preventing drug use, alcohol use, tobacco use, violence, bullying, teen pregnancy, and encouraging career exploration, goal setting, increasing self-worth and self-esteem, as well as self-regulation. In addition, the program promotes job readiness, character and leadership development, financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills.
Randy Lopez, board president, said this is the exact type of partnership they spoke about when they discussed the initiative and pledge earlier in the evening, to help them reach young people and curb some of the violence.
Paige said she applauded Dr. Clemons, a former graduate of the school district, for taking the time and energy to come back and make the district better.