State Lawmakers Issue Statements on Alleged Sexual Assaults, Reported Bullying Incidents in Knox County, Missouri

Edina, Missouri – October 11, 2018 – Earlier this week, The Edina Sentinel reached out to Missouri state and federal legislators who are well known to Knox Countians to ask two questions concerning the recent news about alleged sexual assault and bullying at the Knox County R-1 School District. Those questions were: 1) Are you following the news coming out of Knox County? 2) Do you have a message for us?

Statements were issued by State Rep. Craig Redmon, R-Dist. 4,  and State Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Dist. 18. Those statements and responses from U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s Office and U.S. Rep. Sam Graves’ office included below.

Statement from State Rep. Craig Redmon Regarding Alleged Assaults in Knox County R-1 School District

CANTON, Mo. – State Rep. Craig Redmon, R-Canton, issued the following statement in reaction to the alleged sexual assaults of fifth and sixth grade students in the Knox County R-1 School District:

“As a former school board member, dad and grandpa, my heart aches for the children, their families, the school district and the community. There are times when those in public service would like to do nothing more than sit down and lay everything out from start to finish, but that isn’t always an option when minors are involved. I hope that we can overcome this and move forward while also taking the appropriate steps to ensure issues like this don’t happen again.”

Statement from Sen. Brian Munzlinger Regarding Reported Bullying Incidents in Knox County Schools

JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, released the following statement concerning recent events in the Knox County R-I School District:

“I have been following the events of the last few weeks as they have unfolded in Knox County schools. I would like to thank those of you who called my office, asked questions and patiently awaited responses as we asked for input and clarity from the Attorney General’s Office, Department of Social Services, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Department of Public Safety. The responses show that state statutes are being followed. Decisions of discipline and the investigation are local matters.

“My office inquired of the Attorney General’s Office regarding how information was being made public. The Attorney General’s Office told us that, under Missouri’s sunshine law, the school board could go into closed session for personnel and legal matters.

“The Department of Social Services could not disclose any details regarding any information concerning hotline calls, ongoing or closed investigations.

“The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education responded that state statute requires school districts to have a policy on bullying and to follow it as necessary. The type of policy and how it is handled are policies adopted and enforced by the local school board.

“We also contacted the Department of Public Safety to see if a request for assistance with any part of the investigation had been made. The department stated it had not received such a request, but that it would do what is legally permitted if asked. This request would be made from local law enforcement — in this case, the Knox County sheriff.

“It is in times like these that we must keep our sense of community and work together, without blame or divisiveness, because our youth are listening to our conversations and watching our actions. My office and I will continue to provide answers and assistance on questions as they relate to state statutes and this situation.”

Reply from U.S. Rep. Sam Graves’ Office

“Yes, Congressman Graves is paying attention to the news coming out of Knox County. We are aware of the situation and we will continue to monitor it,” stated a spokesperson for U.S. Congressman Sam Graves.

Reply from U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s Office

“Yes, Sen. Blunt is paying attention to the news coming out of Knox County,” stated a spokesperson for U.S. Senator Roy Blunt.

Background:

It Took a Lot of Courage to Tell, They Are Heroes

As silence cloaks allegations of violent bullying in a tiny community, a news weekly fights back with facts – Columbia Missourian Story by Anna Brett