KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Teachers and social workers at F.L. Schlagle High School in Kansas City, Kansas, are using unique tools to try and keep their students safe from violence.
The school plans to use $185,000 in grant funding over the next two years to incorporate trauma-informed practices, to create a safe place of learning for students and also to help students process and heal from violence.
"These kids need to have their basic needs met," Schlagle social worker Amanda Davis said. "We need to approach them with trauma-sensitive interventions, so that way we reach them and are not just kicking them out and not having them graduate."
Money from the grant will allow the school to teach students and parents about mediation and conflict resolution as well as to buy gym equipment that will be made available for students who need additional physical or mental support but are not eligible for sports.
"We know if we can get them and get them relationships and get them support, that's the No. 1 thing that is going to keep them out of jail," Davis said.
The school is also partnering with Warriors4Wyandotte, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect students with mentors.
"I made bad decisions growing up, because I didn't have someone in my life on a consistent basis," Robert Vargas, who founded the mentoring group, said. "Everything is about relationships. It's not about coming in one day and doing an event. It's about walking with these kids and these young men and women on a daily basis."
Warriors4Wyandotte currently has 30 mentors but is always looking for more.
The organization works with six elementary schools, two junior high schools and two high schools in Wyandotte County.
To sign up to be a mentor, visit the Warriors4Wyandotte Instagram page.