Crimestoppers Award

Abilene Assistant Chief of Police Jason Wilkins, left, presents an award to Abilene High School Principal Ben Smith Monday night from Crimestoppers of Dickinson County. Smith received the award for his role in making the P3 Campus app available to AHS students. The app allows students to anonymously report information to the school and law enforcement that makes them feel unsafe.

Abilene High School Principal Ben Smith received an award Monday night for his role in getting an app out to students that allows them to anonymously report things that make them feel unsafe.

Abilene Assistant Chief of Police Jason Wilkins presented the award to Smith on behalf of Crimestoppers of Dickinson County during the Abilene Board of Education meeting. Captain Jerry Davis of the Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department also was present. Both Wilkins and Davis are law enforcement liaisons with the Crimestoppers’ board.

In late 2018, the app P3 Campus was loaded onto iPads used by AHS students so when students have a concern, they can use it to anonymously report what’s going on.

“Ben played an absolutely crucial role in what has been a very, very successful program,” Wilkins told the board, explaining that both he and Davis had been in law enforcement for years and P3 Tips was one of the “neatest tools we’ve had during our time in law enforcement.”

P3 Campus is the school version of P3 Tips, which allows the public to submit secure and anonymous tips to Crimestoppers.

The goal of P3 Campus is to provide high school students an avenue to report not only criminal activity, but also safety concerns with fellow students, Wilkins explained.

“This absolutely could not have been accomplished without Dr. (Ben) Smith’s openness and support,” Wilkins said. “Because of that, Dickinson County Crimestoppers, as a token of our appreciation, would like to recognize Ben Smith with this award and for his continued support.”

At the time the app was loaded onto the AHS iPads, Smith said the idea for P3 Campus grew out of concerns expressed during an Abilene Cares meeting, a group of community organizations and citizens working together to find ways to support Abilene children and families.

The app allows students to anonymously report things they see their peers doing that make them feel unsafe, Smith said back in 2018.

The app allows two-way texting and information that can be seen by Smith, Wilkins, Davis and School Resource Officer Kris Kobiskie of the Abilene Police Department.

That way Smith or any of the officers can reply to reports made through the app.

If it’s a school-related concern, Smith or Kobiskie respond. If it’s not school related, Davis or Wilkins handles it if a response is needed. 

While no specifics were shared during the Feb. 10 meeting, it’s been noted at various times since that the app has been a huge success.

School Board President Kyle Becker thanked Wilkins, Davis and everyone involved for everything they do to keep students safe.

“We’ve heard great things about the app and know it’s going well,” Becker said.


New course

• Board Member Randy Gassman asked about a new proposed course at Abilene High School, “The Art of Film.”

The class will be taught by instructor Blair Waite who had open time after the Career and Lifetime Finance class she had been teaching was moved into CTE (Career and Technical Education) this school year when the board approved a second FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences) teacher.

The new class will focus on film as an art form, Smith said, explaining it’s not unlike evaluating painting, drawing, sculpting or music.

“Film is a pretty prolific 20th Century art form. So we wanted to take that approach to it as well,” Smith explained. “It’s not just sitting around watching movies. It’s applying an eyeball to film.”

Superintendent Greg Brown said many of the movies on the syllabus have an historical aspect.

“Many of them have statements about what’s going on with culture in that day (they were released),” Browns said.


Donkey basketball

Abilene Middle School students Hannah Walter and Alyssa Farr talked about a “Donkey Basketball” fundraiser planned by the school’s “Pennies for Pineapple” leadership team.

The team raises funds for the Tumaina Children’s Home in Africa, helping provide the children with food, shelter and schooling. Last year the AMS group raised $830 that the home used to buy a cow, vaccines and vet visits. The cow provides milk for the home.

The cow which was named ‘Pineapple’ is expecting a calf which they will name ‘Abilene,’ Walter and Farr said.

This year’s fundraiser will be a Donkey Basketball game scheduled for Thursday, March 26, said AHS Sponsor Jenny Casteel. Money raised during the game will go to send TCH children to private school because public schools are located too far away.

Casteel said Donkey Basketball players must be 16 years and older to participate and must weigh less than 225 lbs. for the “safety of the donkey.”



• The board heard an approximate 30-minute presentation from the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) Risk Management Group. District leaders are considering utilizing the service to help advocate for the district when it comes to negotiating the best health insurance rates for employees without sacrificing quality.

District leaders have been concerned that they are not getting the best rates from its health insurance provider.

The risk management group utilizes endorsed carriers and consultants to provide service to KASB members. KASB has partnered with the McInnes Group to be the consulting service to find the best solution.

No decision was made.

• The board examined two calendar proposals: One for the 2020-21 school year and another for the 2021-22 school year. Superintendent Brown said planning the calendar two years in advance helps administrators, especially when it comes to planning athletic and other events.

Brown asked the board to look over the calendar proposals for adoption during the March meeting.

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