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Kansas City Public Schools district shares safety protocols ahead of school year

Parents weigh in on safety concerns
KCPS
Posted at 7:39 PM, Aug 19, 2022

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Public Schools district is set to open its doors to students on Monday.

It’s the return of full backpacks, fresh pencils and eager faces.

“I hope they love it,” Brianna Aguirre, whose son attends KCPS said. “My son is going off to kindergarten and he’s super excited, I want all of my kids to be excited.”

Between high hopes for a good school year, parents have questions about security too.

“Bullying and active shooters are a real concern, because it happens everywhere,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre lives down the road from Northeast Middle School.

In April, 14-year-old Manuel Guzman was tragically stabbed and killed.

“That is the worst thing I could ever think of and I would never want that for somebody, it was horrible,” she said.

In a statement, KCPS said an investigation into the fatal stabbing continues:

We know our families and our community still have questions about what happened at Northeast Middle School in April. We hear these concerns; however, as the criminal investigation remains open, we are limited in what we can share. We also want to respect the privacy of all families involved. We continue to provide additional resources and support for Northeast Middle School students, families and staff. When the results of our internal investigation can be shared publicly, we will be engaging our families and the community.
KCPS spokesperson

KCPS spends $6.1 million per year on security, more than $5 million of it is for salaries for about 70 people.

The district says the rest of the budget is spent on supplies, equipment and training.

KCPS shared some of its security protocols with KSHB 41.

“We will certainly be involving our parents with some of the recommendations that will come forth,” said Jennifer Collier, Interim Superintendent for KCPS. “We want them to be knowledgeable and even understand the why behind our decisions.”

KCPS says its made some security upgrades.

Among those include $1 million in upgrades for the server attached to security cameras.

It also replaced all the metal detectors in middle and high schools.

KCPS has 24-armed patrol officers, 46-armed site-based security officers and six-armed school resource officers.

New this year, KCPS says it'll work with the crisis prevention institute to provide de-escalation training for security officers and school staff.

When it comes to locking doors, administrators say classroom doors lock automatically when shut.

The outside doors are kept locked before, during and after school.

KCPS says if someone wants to come in, they have to buzzed in and show identification.

Other outside doors are controlled through a badge and alarm if they’re held open.

As for backpacks, KCPS gave out 4,000 clear backpacks.

They’re not making it mandatory for students but plan to talk with parents before making any changes.

“I’m indifferent, my kids don’t like the clear backpacks and I get it,” Aguirre said. “I understand the reasoning behind it, but I’m okay with not having clear backpacks as long as the metal detectors and the security guards are doing what they are supposed to do.”