State orders Hogan Prep to temporarily shut down amid student safety concerns

9th-12th graders ordered off-campus until school creates approved action plan.
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 5:27 AM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A Kansas City school is being shut down, at least temporarily, over student safety concerns amid several recent incidents.

The Missouri Charter Public School Commission sent a letter to Hogan Preparatory Academy High School on Nov. 11, telling the school to shut its doors until it can properly address the safety of students and staff. The commission is directing Hogan Prep not to allow ninth through 12th grade students to attend school on campus before Nov. 28. Virtual learning is available this week, and next week is the Thanksgiving break.

The letter says the incidents of concern are not a recent aberration, but indicative of an environment that’s resulted in high student suspension rates. Understaffing also factors in.

“Once the materials are submitted, they will be reviewed by staff and, if sufficient, approved by the executive director. At that point, this letter of concern will be removed from the commission’s website,” Missouri Charter Public School Commission Executive Director Robbyn G. Wahby wrote in the letter to Hogan Prep. “If these actions are not completed in a timely manner, the commission may take additional action, up to and including closure of the school (RSMo 160.405.8(5) allows for termination prior to the end of the school year if continued operation of the school presents a clear and immediate threat to the health and safety of the children.”

Parents told KCTV5 Hogan has had ongoing problems with violence and threats at the school.

Renee Broadus, the mother of a freshman, said her son has been describing several fights every week. She said that there had been multiple incidents on Thursday and that, at one point, a concerning message was circulating among students. The message warned that someone with a gun may be targeting freshmen students.

“We need better safety for students,” Broadus said. “We need to have a parent meeting. We need to talk about keeping them safe at school, on the bus, and when they get home.”

Another parent, Jennifer Clark, said her daughter had described the same kinds of problems.

“As far as I’m concerned, my daughter’s not safe going back,” Clark said.

Jayson Strickland, the superintendent of HPA, said in a statement to KCTV5 that the school was committed to addressing safety concerns.

“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,” Strickland wrote. “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 Missouri Charter Public School Commission is requiring Hogan Prep to 1) submit a plan for each campus by Nov. 17 to create safety measures and protocols for students and staff and 2) share how the plan will be communicated to families and staff.

Second, before all ninth though 12th graders can return, they must provide a plan to address limited capacity, high attrition among staff, and ongoing challenges in student achievement in an unsafe environment.

A second-semester plan has to be submitted by Jan. 9 with a plan to allocate resources.

The letter went on to say the commission staff were there for several incidents and spoke with staff who were there. The commission believes school staff leaders and faculty believe in the aspirational vision set for students, but still, several staff are considering resigning or not renewing their contracts because of these concerns.

The letter does not affect elementary and middle school students. They will be allowed to be in-person at their campus starting Monday.