Posted Date: 01/12/2021
The State Board of Education on Tuesday approved a plan aimed at reducing bullying in Kansas public schools.
The plan provides guidance for districts, including providing school boards with an annual report on anti-bullying efforts. The plan also includes a Bullying Prevention Plan and Resources Toolkit, which can be used by districts to assist in changing the climate and culture of a school building, provide curriculum and instructional resources and measure social and emotional health on the local level. The toolkit provides numerous resources for schools to use.
Board Chairman Jim Porter said bullying will never be completely eliminated but approval of the recommendations was a step forward.
Last year, a Blue Ribbon Task Force, appointed by Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson, produced a set of recommendations aimed at helping schools, boards, administrators, teachers, students and families address the problem. Those recommendations focused on improving data collection, teacher training, providing statewide guidance to support districts, hiring more counselors and psychologists and focusing on relationships and school culture. Then the School Mental Health Advisory Council released its plan to implement those task force recommendations.
The State Board approved that implementation plan 9-1. Board member Michelle Dombrosky voted against the plan, saying she was concerned that kids are walking on eggshells, afraid to use the wrong pronoun and that censorship going on in the United States is unacceptable.