The Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 signed and approved their letter to respond to the Parkland school shooting last month.
Board members read the letter aloud for the public to hear during their meeting on Wednesday. The decision to write a letter was decided during the previous board meeting last month.
President Darell Edie started the letter off by saying the district mourns with the rest of the country. They also stand in solidarity with the Parkland community, its board of education, teachers, and students. Board member Leah Fliter continued reading the letter by stating the district has been proactive when it comes to safety and security.
“Several years ago we created more secure entrances to our buildings,” she said, “We also have have had a strong anti-bullying program. Our emergency response and training program may be the most advanced in the state of Kansas.”
Fliter ended her part of the letter stating the district is currently developing a bond issue to further improve building safety and security. Board Member Jurdene Coleman read her part of the letter stating that the district needs help from not only political leaders across the board, but from every adult in the nation.
“We all must dropped our ideological inclinations, be ready to compromise, and do what’s right for students.”
Coleman continued saying anyone who isn’t ready to compromise must ask themselves if their personal political beliefs are more important than the lives of students.
Board Member Karla Hagemeister read that regulating the purchase of weaponry, adding counselors, and helping parents be better at their job will have to be part of the solution. Board member Katrina Lewison read from her section of the letter stating whatever solutions are decided, they must not divert funding from student teaching and learning.
“To take away opportunities from student learning by shifting existing school resources towards school security is not acceptable,” she read.
Lewison said the adults of this country allowed this situation to develop and is their responsibility to fix it without harming student learning. Board Member Dave Colburn read that an entire generation of students will hold adults in contempt.
“We cannot and must not fail them as they and we work for change.” he read.
Vice President Curt Herrman concluded the letter reading saying it is time for solutions and to get to work.
The letter was approved and signed by the board. It will be sent political leaders in Topeka and Washington.