Free Press

Opinion: Team photo sparks anger

Isis Norris, Print Editor in Chief

August 18, 2020

On Sunday, Aug. 16 the Free State football team posted a photo through the @freestatefootball Instagram account. The photo featured 29 players standing shoulder-to-shoulder without masks or social distancing measures. In an apparent reference to several surrounding school districts opting out of the 202...

School board discusses reopening precautions, met with protests

Isis Norris, Print Editor in Chief

July 14, 2020

On Monday night, the USD 497 School Board held a meeting to discuss how the district will adapt the 2020-21 school year to the current COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the newly-established Kansas for a Safe School Reopening organization formed a protest outside the district offices. At the meeting,...

Administration delivers food to students

Brooke Burgess, Reporter

April 26, 2020

When schools closed, many students’ access to steady food supply was cut off. During the past weeks, administration has developed a plan to provide for students in need. “Our goal is to operate a safe program as long as we can and serve as many students as possible, the best meal possible,”...

News Brief: School board relaxes graduation requirements

Jack Bellemere, Reporter

March 23, 2020

After a school board meeting earlier today, USD 497 Executive Director of Communications Julie Boyle announced the school board will reduce the number of credits required for students to graduate high school from 23 to 21. The decision follows a request by Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson for o...

Superintendent Lewis outlines continued education

Superintendent Lewis outlines continued education

Jack Bellemere, Reporter

March 23, 2020

During an online meeting on Wednesday March 18, Free State journalism editors interviewed  USD 497 Superintendent Dr. Anthony Lewis about the district’s plans for the remainder of the school year. In light of Kansas governor Laura Kelly suspending in-person classes for the next several months, th...

USD 497 sues Juul for damages of vaping epidemic

USD 497 sues Juul for damages of vaping epidemic

Jack Bellemere, Reporter

February 24, 2020

“I don't think [the administration] outwardly cares about their students,” one anonymous student said when describing their frustration with USD 497’s anti-vaping initiatives. “I think they just care about reputation.” The student, who has used e-cigarettes since their freshman year, is descr...

News Brief: District advises families after potential local Coronavirus case reported

Sabrina Castle, Editor-in-Chief

January 29, 2020

On Tuesday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced a potential case of the Coronavirus at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. After recently visiting Wuhan, China the patient showed respiratory symptoms and was admitted to an isolation room designed for infection prevention.  The same day, C...

News Brief: Board meeting on delayed start time

News Brief: Board meeting on delayed start time

Isis Norris, Editor

December 11, 2019

At the December 9 board meeting, administration voted on an additional option for students to start their school day at 9:00 a.m. in the 2020-21 school year.  This new option is in addition to the current 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. start times. Arriving at either 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m., students would be...

Administration releases new dress code

Sabrina Castle, Editor-in-Chief

November 11, 2019

On November 7, USD 497 Board of Education released an updated dress code draft. More lenient than past policies, the administration seeks to define more open guidelines of appropriate attire.  According to the outline made public by email, the board intends to “support of the district’s focus on...

Blocked and Reported: Inaccessible websites restrict curriculum

Blocked and Reported: Inaccessible websites restrict curriculum

Ridwan Firman, Reporter

October 9, 2019

Whether in ceramics or ball sports, the internet is an extensive resource that both teachers and students utilize. However, in recent years the full freedom of the web has been restricted as certain websites and programs are being blocked by administration for seemingly no reason at all. This issue ha...

Open parking recieves mixed feedback

Open parking recieves mixed feedback

Brooke Burgess, Reporter

October 8, 2019

In past years, the school’s parking spots have been separated by grade, giving seniors priority to the spots near the front. This year, the lot is open to all grades, giving students who come to school early better access to front spots. Administration was forced to make this change because of budgeting...

School Redesign Part 3: Restorative practices predicted beneficial to students

Jack Bellemere, Reporter

May 17, 2019

When a student gets in trouble at Free State, teachers traditionally “write up” that student, and send them to the office where administrators will dole out their punishment. However, english teacher Kylee Wright sees this protocol as archaic and ineffective. Instead, Wright wants to incorpor...

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