With the rash of shootings in and around the metro, violent crime is top of mind for many in Kansas City.
But organizers of one group say they have solutions to help deter the violence.
One of the suggestions is alternative schools, and people will find no argument from Kansas City Public Schools.
Just this year, they expanded to include two alternative schools, including an elementary.
The premise is simple - give children guidance, supervision and skills, and violent crime won't be as appealing to them.
"We want to keep our students in school and we realize that some students may not be best suited for the traditional learning environment," superintendent Stephen Green said.
The Kansas City Public Schools opened Success Academy this year at William A. Knotts Elementary for grades kindergarten through sixth.
And Success Academy at C. R. Anderson Alternative for grades seven through 12. It used to be an administrative building.
For two years, KCPS did without an alternative school, substituting an alternative program in several classrooms at Manual Career and Technical Center.
It was part of the money-saving, right-sizing plan, but Green said it didn't work as well as a dedicated school.
"The students who are in an alternative school, we are looking to provide them social emotional support, it could be academic support, and they would work their way back eventually to their home school or the school that sent them there," Green said.
Center School District has an award-winning alternative school covering grades six through 12. North Kansas City has a variety of alternative programs for grades seven through 12.
Hickman Mills also has programs instead of freestanding schools, also grades seven through 12, though the chair of the Violent Crime Commission said that district is looking to expand.
The costs, she says, are at least partly offset by increasing attendance and thus increasing attendance-based state funding.
"So I think the program can actually pay for itself if not more because you have those kids in school, plus the society is not paying by them being out vandalizing or getting in trouble or getting hurt," commission member Stacey Daniels-Young said.
As for the alternative schools in the Kansas City Green said there are currently more slots than there are students in need, so no plans for additional schools.
But they have contracted social workers and psychologists from area nonprofits to make visits throughout the district to touch on concerns before they get to this point.
Green said there are more slots than there are students in need, so there are no plans for additional alternative schools.
The committee also suggested making the Violent Crime Commission permanent along with a coordinator to make sure these recommendations are being used.
The commission said the city needs to build strong relationships with individual neighborhoods and also come up with programs for children when they're not at school.
The commission also recommended creating a city-wide truancy policy.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-07-30 11:45:17 GMT
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