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Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying to host listening tours across Kansas

Posted: May 20, 2019
Categories: KSDE
Author: Ann Bush

Information will be used to develop recommendations for State Board of Education

Bullying affects everyone, and Kansas is taking steps to combat this complex issue by convening a Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying that will have meetings across the state to gather public input.

Twenty-eight percent of students in sixth through 12th grade have experienced bullying, according to stopbullying.gov, a United States government website. Thirty percent of young people admit to bullying others, and 70.6 percent of children have witnessed bullying in their schools.

Students who are bullied can experience depression and anxiety and increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, stopbullying.gov states. Students who bully others are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, get into fights and have criminal convictions and traffic violations as adults. Children who witness bullying are more likely to miss or skip school and have increased use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

While Kansas ranks among states with the least amount of bullying issues, according to Wallethub.com, it is still important to bring awareness to the harmful effects of bullying and try to put a stop to it.

In March 2019, Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson announced the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying to research and identify current bullying trends, data and prevention measures occurring across the state in an effort to understand better how to combat this complex issue. The group also is reviewing work in the areas of social-emotional learning; reviewing current statutes, regulations and policies to determine need for change; and identifying possible avenues that could reduce and prevent incidents of bullying and cyber bullying.

The Task Force on Bullying will host six listening tours across the state. All of the meetings will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Members of the public are welcome to attend, and there will be a public comment session offered at each regional site meeting. The meetings will include presentations on bullying and bullying statistics and data.

Regional site meetings are:

·         Tuesday, May 28: Clearwater, Orion Education and Training, 13939 Diagonal Road.

·         Tuesday, June 18: Garden City, location to be determined.

·         Monday, Aug. 5: Salina, Smoky Hill Education Service Center, 605 E. Crawford.

·         Wednesday, Sept. 25: Girard, Greenbush Education Service Center, 947 W. 47 Highway.

·         Wednesday, Nov. 6: Lawrence, Greenbush Resource Center, 1104 E. 1000 Road.

·         Monday, Dec. 2: Lawrence, Greenbush Resource Center, 1104 E. 1000 Road.

The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying is co-chaired by Dr. Rick Ginsberg, dean of the University of Kansas School of Education, and James Regier, superintendent of Whitewater-Remington Unified School District 206. There are 37 members serving on the task force, including teachers, business leaders, Kansas State Board of Education members, mental health facilitators, school administrators, a member of the Kansas Senate, parents, organization leaders and more.

The information gathered during the listening tours will be compiled and used to develop recommendations to present to the State Board of Education later this year.

Anyone – from parents and educators to community members, organization leaders and members of the media - can attend the task force meetings. Public input can be submitted in writing or presented verbally. Written comments, which will be read during the public comment session, can be submitted to Amy Martin one week prior to the scheduled meeting via email at admartin@ksde.org. Written input must include the person’s name, address and county of residence.

Attendees wanting to make verbal comments during a meeting must sign in on the “Public Comment” sign-in sheet at the meeting. Each person will have three minutes to make verbal comments. Please provide the task force a written copy of verbal comments.

For a listing of task force members or additional information about the task force, visit https://www.ksde.org/Agency/Division-of-Learning-Services/Special-Education-and-Title-Services/Early-Childhood/Blue-Ribbon-Taskforce-on-Bullying.

For additional information on the task force meetings, please contact Martin by email at admartin@ksde.org or by phone at 785-296-5608.

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