Kansas City, February 13, 2019: As Kansas City Public Schools invests in stemming the social-emotional wounds caused by gun violence, school system leaders are calling for a community-wide effort to cure this illness.
During a press conference this morning at the KCPS Board of Education, Superintendent Mark Bedell talked about how ongoing gun violence is impacting both the school system and the entire community in Kansas City, Mo. This press conference followed in the wake of a shooting that occurred last night in the parking lot at Central Academy of Excellence.
“Gun violence is not a KCPS problem,” Dr. Bedell said. “Gun violence is a community illness that is impacting the ability of our public schools to improve and thrive.”
Dr. Bedell emphasized that the safety and security of students, staff and visitors are always the top priorities of KCPS. He reviewed the commitment made by KCPS to address the impact of criminal violence on students and staff.
“We have made significant investments in time, talent and money in order to make our schools safe and secure havens for our students, and to address the social and emotional challenges that make it more difficult for our students to learn,” Dr. Bedell said.
This commitment includes developing an innovative system of trauma-informed support and education in classrooms and schools. KCPS has also reformed its discipline system in order to end the school-to-prison pipeline.
Dr. Bedell emphasized that KCPS stands in solidarity with others in the community who are working to end gun violence and other criminal violence in Kansas City.
“KCPS cannot by itself cure the illness of gun violence,” Dr. Bedell said. “We can only try to lessen the bleeding. The cure will have to be developed by the entire community working together.” KCPS has already taken a number of important steps to address the issue. This includes an extensive mentorship program for students, plus valuable partnerships with the Kansas City Police Department, churches, faith-based organizations, and other organizations that help teach young people how to deal with conflict without resorting to violence.