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Raytown Board of Education listens to solutions for school safety, equity

Raytown Board of Education November 29 2021
Posted at 9:07 PM, Nov 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 09:20:55-05

RAYTOWN, Mo. — The Raytown Board of Education heard suggestions and observations from parents Monday evening on how to make schools a safer environment for all students.

"We want to do what's best for everyone and that's a hard thing to do," Alonzo Burton, president of the Raytown BOE said.

The board believes the best way to go about it, is to listen and learn.

"I think our kids are really, really, scared to be the ones that ‘Oh that such and such told,’ because there's retaliation that happens. It's very real," Samira Iohnson, a parent said.

Johnson is one of the 11 people who spoke at Monday's forum on how to address a variety of issues including school safety.

"A parent was able to get all the way into the school and all the way to a classroom to approach a child," Jenny Perkins, a parent alleged.

Another parent brought up the issue of equity and inclusion.

That subject came up two months after a Raytown High School teacher used a racial slur in front of students.

At the time, the district said it couldn't share information on how or if they punished the teacher.

Days later, the superintendent sent a letter to parents about how another incident involving an outdated version of a worksheet that contained racial and sexual slurs, was used in the high school.

"I don’t want my children or anybody's children to ever be told ‘You're not going to amount to anything because there's too many obstacles,' or 'You are a bad person just because of the color of your skin,'" another parent said.

When it comes to student discipline, some parents believe school leaders shouldn't stick to a zero-tolerance policy.

"[We should] Approach this from a resource based, versus a stronger policing force approach, because the impact of getting children involved in the justice system at such an early age can have a profound impact on the trajectory of their life," Beth Falkenstein, a parent said.

Although it was just a listening session, the board hopes to use the feedback they heard to review their current policies and procedures in the future.

"It gives us an opportunity to keep in touch with our community to even know what's going on," Burton told KSHB 41 News.