Shawnee County DA asks state lawmakers to rethink youth violence legislation

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay is asking Kansas lawmakers to rethink a 2016 law that he says keeps law enforcement from doing their job.

The Kansas Juvenile Justice Reform Act called for misdemeanor crimes to be handled outside of law enforcement. The legislation is commonly known as Senate Bill 367. It asks that school districts collaborate with local law enforcement agencies to reduce the number of referrals to outside agencies by using Memorandums of Understandings, or MOUs. But now Kagay is saying law enforcement has lost its seat at the table.

Kagay says certain misdemeanors warrant the help of his office, like sexual assault or bringing a weapon to school. He’s been tipped off to a case where a 12-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by one of her classmates. Kagay said with his daughter turning 12 on Thursday, it’s concerning to have educators do the job of law enforcement.

“What kind of message are you sending to that little girl, about her right to autonomy?” Kagay said. “About her right to be safe, to be unharmed, unmolested, within the school, what kind of message are you sending her? So yeah that bothers me, I have two daughters.”

The call for change comes after multiple fights on school property in Shawnee County. But he said this could also be applied to sexual assault cases.

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