Sidney Steele | KBIA

Sidney Steele

Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

As a part of the Unbound Book Festival, eight authors will be speaking to Columbia Public Schools Students in classrooms across the district on Friday. For the third year, the “Authors in the Schools” project will be coming to Columbia.

Middle schoolers will hear author Jacqueline Woodson speak at the Missouri Theatre as a part of the Unbound Book Festival. Woodson is a children’s and young adult author and will be the keynote speaker for the event. 

Sara Shahriari / KBIA

The Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, is criticizing the Missouri House for advancing legislation that would allow concealed firearms on college campuses. The Missouri House advances HB575 Monday, which will allow colleges to arm faculty and force public colleges to allow people to carry concealed handguns on campus.

Moms Demand Action has sent representatives to Jefferson City to testify in opposition of the bill and uses social media to drive calls to state legislators.

Meiying Wu / KBIA

The Fair Housing Task Force, formed last July, presented its findings about housing disparities in Columbia and a plan of action to provide more affordable housing.

Meiying Wu / KBIA

Beginning next school year, sex education curriculum in Columbia Public Schools will include education on sexual harassment, sexual violence, and consent.

House Bill 1606 requires that by July, any course relating to human sexuality include these topics. The Columbia Board of Education voted unanimously to implement the updated curriculum, and to approve academic calendars for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years required by the state law. The board also approved a contract with a new substitute employer service.

Sidney Steele / KBIA

Blake Willoughby is the youngest candidate for the Columbia Board of Education, by a sizeable margin. While some might see this as negative, Willoughby sees this as one of his greatest advantages.

“I bring a fresh perspective of being a young, community engaged, artist-educator,” Willoughby said. “I am the closest in age to understanding what our kids are navigating when they graduate high school and become life-ready.”

Following videos showing child abuse in St. Louis daycare facilities, Governor Mike Parson is announcing the creation of the Safe and Quality Child Care Working Group to combat future abuse. The group is made up of staff from the departments of Health and Senior Services, Social Services, Public Safety, Elementary and Secondary Education and the Attorney General’s office.

Randall Williams, the Director of the Department Health and Senior Services, said his department hopes to make improvements, such as increasing the required number of training hours for daycare workers and creating report cards so parents know the quality of care a daycare provides before enrolling their child.

“While our North Star is always to help people have access to healthcare and to child care, safety has to be the most important thing on our minds.”

The working group will meet to discuss necessary changes and make recommendations by June 1.

The MU Women*s Leadership Conference emphasizes diversity and inclusivity, starting with its name. Executive Director Jordan Weinberg said replacing the apostrophe in “Women’s” with an asterisk reflects the theme of the conference: More to Learn.

“It means there's always more to something than the surface level,” Weinberg said. “Historically, our conference has been kind of geared towards a certain type of woman. We really wanted to emphasize our commitment to being more inclusive.”

A roundup of regional headlines, including: 

Meiying Wu / KBIA

Columbia Police Department is working to become accredited by The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The Police Department held the second Police Policy Public Review and Input meeting Thursday to discuss policy changes required for accreditation.

CALEA accreditation sets standards for police department policy, said Columbia Police Department spokesperson Jeffery Pitts. Currently, MU Police Department is the only agency in Boone County with this accreditation.

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

The Columbia School Board race narrowed to three candidates after Brian Jones’ withdrawal from the race Thursday.

Jones sent a statement to the Columbia Daily Tribune and the Columbia Missourian announcing his withdrawal from the race. In the statement Jones said he has accepted an “unexpected employment opportunity” and will be relocating to Wisconsin at the end of February. He says this is in the best interests of his family. 

Regional headlines from the KBIA Newsroom, including: 

A proposal that one lawmaker worries will exempt most correspondence by elected officials from the Sunshine Law was preliminarily approved by the Missouri House of Representatives on Monday.