KCK leaders meet with parents in hopes of changing school culture

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – On Tuesday, community leaders, elected officials, educators and officers came together to work to change the culture of high schools in Kansas City, Kansas.

Organizers say it was a call for volunteers to come forward and connect with the students, in hopes of lifting that burden off them and ending the violence.

The meeting comes a week after a stab at FL Schlagle High School who injured a student.

“Now these kids with cell phones, you’re fighting, [and now] you fight a thousand times,” said Joseph Straws III of the Men for Change Community Crisis Coalition. “Because this fight is relived again and again on social networks. It’s an ongoing trauma in the lives of some of these children and it creates anger and frustration, they carry it on their shoulders.

Now the group hopes to speak with the students to prevent this from happening in the first place.

Over 40 people showed up at Mt. Carmel Church of God in Christ at KCK.

KCK principals, teachers, the superintendent, police, parents and community members say they want to see change in schools across the city.

Tuesday’s meeting was a call to action, and they say their goal is to connect with students and change school cultures.

“So we can curb some of the anger, some of the fighting, some of the behavior that’s going on inside our school buildings,” Straws said.

Straws says they will continue to build a community crisis coalition with parents of students.

“The only people, men, who are going to change this school, plural, are black men,” said Rodney Boston of the KCKPD OK program.

“Many of our students are making decisions that are detrimental to them and others don’t feel like they have anything to lose or to live for,” said KCKPS Superintendent of Schools Dr Anna Stubblefield . “So we really have to understand what it is and how we can motivate them.”

Robert Vargas with Warriors 4 Wyandotte also explained how things could change.

“Being consistent here in our communities, in our homes and our hallways,” Vargas said. “That’s how you create change.”

It’s a change that community leaders say they need help making.

“When people say it starts at home, yes, but it does and it doesn’t,” Straws said. “I’ll put it this way, it’s easier for us to attack five high schools and the culture of five high schools than it’s easier for me to attack 22,000 homes.”

Wyandotte County’s elected sheriff and district attorney were also in attendance.

District Attorney Mark Dupree said he encourages the group to be proactive and tell students the truth.

Carol C. Reed