Dear Republic County USD #109 Stakeholders:

Republic County USD #109 has a top priority of providing a safe learning environment for all students. Culture affects that environment as well.  Students and/or staff can affect how the culture develops or changes. Positive changes can be student-led as stated by John Calvert from the Kansas State Department of Education School Safety Division who spoke to our students in late October.  

There is a difference between being rude, being mean and bullying. Everyone should understand that not everything that occurs is bullying as it has become a buzzword that is often used out of context.

Rude: Inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts someone else.

Mean: Purposefully saying or doing something to hurt someone once (or maybe twice).

Bullying: Intentionally aggressive behavior, repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power.

Please read the following articles for additional information and clear differences between the three:

Republic County USD #109 has implemented and continues to look at additional methods to help stop the continued culture damaging issues that are affecting students and staff. 

  1. The district hired an additional counselor in 2019.

  2. All staff are required to annually participate in bullying and suicide professional development.

  3. Staff have an open door policy for any student to come at any time if they have a concern or issue.

  4. Staff support and supervise in the cafeterias daily.

  5. Weekly social emotional lessons for every grade level K-8.

  6. Drop box at East Elementary for any one needing to talk to a counselor.

  7. When an incident/situation is brought to our attention, it is immediately investigated and dealt with accordingly. Individual counseling occurs after this for both parties involved. Statements of what has been done regarding individual incidents and discipline for students will not be released as it violates confidentiality under FERPA as it is part of a student’s record.

  8. Counselors frequently have regular meetings with various groups of students.

  9. Purchased socio-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum of Second Step for grades PK-5. Evaluating different SEL curriculums for 6-12 for purchase in spring of 2022.

  10. Added time to Jr/Sr High schedule for seminar to focus on team building and SEL.

  11. Eliminated the use of cell phones during the school day for grades 6-8 and researching the option of eliminating cell phones during the school day in grades 9-12.

  12. Two of the counselors are trauma certified and the entire staff has been trauma informed.

  13. October 2018 - Kevin Honeycutt spoke to our student body and parents regarding finding your talents and being kind.

  14. October 2018 - Noalee McDonald from Smoky Hill Educational Service Center came and did some small group interventions with the students.

  15. September 2019 - Chris Scheufele came and presented to both elementary and high school regarding being “resilient.”  

  16. November 2019 - Mark Potter - Battling depression - ‘Don’t Suffer in Silence: The Silent Epidemic’- Pike Valley HS and Republic County Junior/Senior High School attended at RCJSHS.

  17. February 2021 - Chet Kuplan from Sports in Kansas-Spoke to students about “Think Before You Post.”

  18. October 2021 - John Calvert from Kansas State Department of Education School Safety Unit presented on the “Be the Change You Want to Be” and mental health to grades 5-12. Additionally, he presented on the effects of social media and apps to adults in the community with an evening presentation.

  19. December 1, 2021 - Providing a venue for the Todd Becker assembly.

  20. February 2, 2022 - Value-Up Organization to present to students and staff along with a night event for adults in the community on “Value Yourself, Value others and Live Your Values.”

As stakeholders have stated, any bullying incident is not only a school issue, but a community issue as a whole. As a school, we are deeply concerned about the current culture that exists in our school and community and the impact it is having on individuals and our community as a whole. Together as a community, we can overcome this through supporting each other in a positive manner. USD #109 welcomes any thoughts, input or suggestions on possible solutions and looks forward to working as a community in being supportive of one another. Please contact any of the following individuals with your ideas.

Alan Sheets:     785-527-2281

Michelle Hubert:     785-527-2281

Gina Aurand:     785-527-2281

Katie Struebing: 785-527-2330

Susie Jelinek: 785-527-2330

Larry Lyder: 785-527-5621