The Harbinger Online

Moving Forward: February

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Superintendent Mike Fulton sent out an anonymous survey to students in the district about their “school climate” on Jan. 18. The survey asked students to rate various aspects of their high school experience, ranging from how classes are taught to the resources provided to help with post-graduation planning. In the email, he requested that all responses be submitted by Jan. 28.

The responses to the survey are being used as research for the district’s new strategic plan, which will be developed by parents, teachers, students and community members, according to Fulton. Any changes that arise from the strategic plan will likely be implemented in the coming school years, though the specific changes remain unknown.

 

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Following a three-year investigation, the Kansas City Police Department is disciplining 17 officers for investigative failures in the Crimes Against Children unit — now called the Juvenile Section — as announced on Jan. 8.

The cases under investigation took place largely between 2011 and 2016, and in some, alleged perpetrators were not punished as a result of internal failures of the KCPD, as reported by the Kansas City Star. These oversights were largely the result of understaffing in the unit, as one detective was responsible for investigating up to 80 cases per month, the investigation revealed.

Since the investigation concluded, the KCPD has taken steps to prevent further failures in this unit. The Juvenile Section has a brand new staff with two more detectives than previously, and each detective’s caseload is now being reviewed monthly by both a sergeant and a captain. Leadership and ethics training is also required for all commanders.

Furthermore, the department is improving their relationship with child advocacy groups. These measures will hopefully prevent the further mishandling of cases and create a more reliable system for cases involving children in the Kansas City area, according to KCPD Chief Richard Smith.

 

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The longest government shutdown in U.S. history ended on Jan. 25 after 35 days, surpassing the former longest shutdown of only 22 days. President Donald Trump and Congress agreed to temporarily reopen the government until Feb. 15 without providing any funding for Trump’s proposed southern border wall in the hopes that lawmakers will be able to negotiate and come to an agreement in that time. If an agreement is not reached, the government may shut down again on Feb. 15.

According to the Washington Post, there are three potential outcomes.

Congress could potentially come to an agreement on the budget. This will likely be based around concessions on the border wall and the DACA, an Obama-era policy that protected undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children that was overturned by Trump.

If Congress fails to come to an agreement on DACA and the border wall, Congressional Democrats have suggested it is possible to permanently reopen all government agencies except for Homeland Security, where the debate over funding will continue.

The final possibility is that Trump could declare the situation at the U.S.’s border with Mexico a national emergency and send funding to build the wall.

However, the future is still uncertain, and it is unclear which of these possibilities is most likely at this point.

 

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The U.S. Supreme Court voted on Jan. 22 to uphold Trump’s transgender military ban, overturning Obama’s policy to allow transgender people to serve in the military whilst receiving funding for gender-reassignment surgery from the government. This ruling allows the military to enforce a ban on “transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition,” which Trump states is due to the high medical cost of surgery and hormone treatments for the military. This policy does not apply to transgender people who are willing to serve “in their biological sex,” according to the BBC.

According to CNN, transgender individuals who have been finished with surgery and hormone treatments for 36 months before joining the military are still allowed to serve. Service members who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria and began receiving medical treatment before the policy’s effective date are still eligible to serve and continue treatment as well.

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Alex Freeman

Alex Freeman
Senior Alex Freeman has been stationed in the J-room for three years, and is excited to take on the role of Head Copy Editor for her final year. Outside of Harbinger, you can find her performing with the the Choraliers, Chamber Choir, or the Lyric Opera of Kansas City (or at least sitting at her keyboard practicing). This year she’s excited to help fellow staffers improve, write as many stories as possible, and essentially live in the J-room — and hopefully make ... »

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