KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Charter Public School Commission has told Hogan Preparatory Academy to close its high school campus temporarily.
The commission cited "multiple recent incidents affecting the safety of students and staff at each of HPA’s campuses" in a Letter of Concern from Executive Director Robbyn G. Wahby dated Friday, Nov. 11.
"We are absolutely committed to making all the necessary changes in our procedures and staffing to ensure a safe, healthy, and favorable environment for our students and teachers," Hogan Prep Superintendent Jayson Strickland said in a statement to KSHB 41 News.
The commission directed Hogan Prep not to allow high school students to attend school on campus until at least Monday, Nov. 28.
Elementary school students are permitted to attend school in-person this week and the middle school campus would be allowed to remain open if "two additional security guards" are on duty.
Strickland said in a statement that it had added personnel at the middle school Monday and identified additional personnel for its high school.
Virtual instruction is permitted this week and the school will be off next week for Thanksgiving break.
The commission's letter didn't detail the incidents that prompted the decision, but noted that "these incidents are not a recent aberration. Instead, they are indicative of an environment that has resulted in high rates of student suspension, and which has been consistently understaffed."
Kansas City, Missouri, police confirmed at least four "disturbances" at Hogan Prep in the last week. Parents and students at the school said there were often fights at the school, KSHB 41 News Reporter Abby Dodge learned.
The commission will require Hogan Prep to submit a safety plan for each campus by Thursday, including ways to ensure construction won't put students or staff at risk.
Hogan Prep also must devise a plan "to address the combination of an unsafe environment, limited capacity and high attrition among the staff, and ongoing challenges in student achievement" before high school students can return this semester.
A plan for the second semester, including an assessment of the academy's leadership and plan for the allocation of resources to carry out the plan, must be submitted to the commission by Jan. 9, 2023.
"If these actions are not completed in a timely manner, the Commission may take additional action, up to and including closure of the school," Wahby said in the letter.
Here is the full statement from Strickland:
Hogan Preparatory Academy (HPA) strives to provide a safe, healthy, and favorable environment for learning. We are absolutely committed to making all the necessary changes in our procedures and staffing to ensure a safe, healthy, and favorable environment for our students and teachers.
The leadership at HPA has taken immediate steps, including adding personnel at the middle school and identifying additional personnel for the high school and altering procedures during the school day.
More importantly, however, we are communicating with teachers, families, students, and the community to develop a comprehensive school plan that will allow our teachers to do their best work, allows our students to thrive academically, emotionally, and socially, and instill confidence with our stakeholders that HPA is on a path to excellence.
The Hogan Prep website included the statement on its front page and promised that "by the end of the week, our families will be notified of the next steps."