WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – In three weeks, five guns have been found in Wichita Public Schools. The district confirmed the information following the end of a chaotic week. Six high schools reported situations requiring a police response – including three of the five guns found in students’ possession at West, Heights and East.
Pepper spray was used to disperse a crowd of “unruly students” at Southeast, and a fight at North High on Friday led to the cancellation of a pep rally. Another incident on Friday caused panic at South High after someone set off fireworks during a fight and someone yelled “gun.” Students and parents called the incident scary and stressful. They say they’re glad the week is over and everyone is safe.
Wichita Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Alicia Thompson issued the following statement on Friday regarding the recent incidents at the local high schools this week, including guns that were found at West, Heights and East:
Good evening Wichita Public Schools parents and caregivers,
I regret disrupting your holiday weekend, but the nature of my message is too important to wait until next week. You are likely aware of a rash of incidents relating to unacceptable behaviors in several of our high schools. Public attention has been drawn to fights and students gathering to video the incident, as well as incidents of students bringing a weapon to school. Thankfully there have been no threats with the weapons, and no injuries during the fights, but we take each of these incidents seriously. The actions of a small number of our students who cause commotion and fear in our schools is completely unacceptable, and it must stop.
The vast majority of our students come to school to learn, grow, make friends and explore opportunities for future careers. I commend our students who do the right thing, and when something doesn’t look or feel right, students should be reminded that if they “see something they should say something.”
Parents, regardless of the age of your child, please make sure they also know that disruptive behavior that threatens the learning environment of their school, and causes fear or disruption, will not be tolerated in our schools. While we know our community continues to deal with the stresses of social isolation and economic concerns, there is absolutely no tolerance for this behavior coming into our schools.
Additionally, at our September 12 Board of Education meeting, we will have an important presentation on WPS safety by Terri Moses, our division director of safety and environmental services. Ms. Moses will update the board on existing safety measures and share a new development that we are excited to bring to our schools. More information will be shared after the meeting.
Overall, the school year has started out strong across our district. Students and teachers value the power of relationships and the supportive environment they find in our school communities. We will continue to do everything possible to earn your trust of and support for the Wichita Public Schools.
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