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Kansas Gov. Kelly signs bill making KSHSAA employees mandatory reporters

Kansas capitol
Posted at 4:05 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 17:09:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly Monday signed a bill into law that makes employees of the Kansas State High School Activities Association mandatory reporters.

The provision - added to the K-12 Education Funding bill - comes in response to a KSHB 41 I-Team investigation last November that revealed KSHSAA employees were not required to report allegations of abuse to law enforcement.

Kansas Representative Kristey Williams of Augusta sponsored the provision after seeing our investigation.

On Monday, Williams told the I-Team: "Anything we can do to help and protect kids, we should take that extra step."

The I-Team also discovered that employees of the Missouri State High School Activities Association were not mandatory reporters.

Our investigation focused on a former Liberty High School basketball player, Emilyn Richardson, who received inappropriate text messages and a Snapchat picture from her basketball coach.

Her family contacted MSHSAA, the governing body of high school sports and activities, about the coach's behavior. But they said that the agency did nothing.

The family also filed a police report; the coach, however, was never charged.

The I-Team shared its findings with Missouri Representative Doug Richey, which prompted him to introduce a bill to make MSHSAA employees mandated reporters.

His bill would also require schools to enter coaches' information into a new statewide database, which would track their employment history.

Richey told the I-Team today that the clock simply ran out this session on his bill.

He called it "frustrating" that the bill didn't pass -- and emphasized that it wasn't because of lack of support or interest.

Richey also said he would reintroduce the measure next session.

"That is great news," Emilyn's mom, Jennifer Vollintine-Richardson, told the I-Team Monday. "It took a lot of courage for Emilyn to share her story. As a parent, I could not be more proud of her. Her voice made a difference...all she wanted was to be heard for other student-athletes."

During lawmakers' break, Richey said he would try to find a local state senator to sponsor the bill on the Senate side of the chamber.

The Missouri Legislature will be back in session next January.