Olmsted Academy North parents ask why LMPD resource officer rema - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Olmsted Academy North parents ask why LMPD resource officer remained at school after complaints

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A JCPS school resource officer has a list of complaints against him, including choking a child to the point of unconsciousness and punching another in the face.

Now, some parents are asking why Jonathan Hardin was allowed near their children in the first place.

Carolyn Board waited for her grandson outside Olmsted Academy North on Wednesday, shocked by the stories coming from his school.

"I thinks it's ridiculous," she said.

Court records say school Resource officer Jonathan Hardin punched a student in the face on Jan. 22, and five days later, choked another child unconscious in six seconds.

"When we have someone who is alleged to have committed acts like this, who is charged with keeping our kids safe, it is very troubling," said JCPS spokesman Ben Jackey.

Police say Hardin tried to cover up the incidents, citing one child and keeping another child out of class -- but surveillance video captured the act.

"Why was Heaven and Earth not moved to stop him from coming to school the next day?" asked WDRB's Gilbert Corsey.

"That's a good question," said Jackey. "My understanding from talking to LMPD is that's part of the internal investigation."

LMPD assigns the school resource officers in JCPS. The school district pays the police for their services.

The district says Olmsted's principal asked LMPD to remove the officer on Jan. 22, after the first incident, but it didn't happen until January 28th.

Erica Buckner reported Officer Hardin and others for abusing children at the Gentleman's Academy last summer. It's a program for troubled kids.

"It didn't have to happen at all," she said.

Buckner worked as the Mental Health Director and filed a lawsuit last fall against Hardin and others who ran the program. At least one of the students from the Gentleman's Academy suit also attends school at Olmsted Academy North. He told authorities that Officer Hardin attacked him at school, saying he was punched in the chest.

"There were numerous times when these incidents could have been intervened and resolved appropriately," Buckner said.

Hardin was featured in a 2012 article from Kentucky Law Enforcement Magazine talking about working with troubled children.

In the article, he states, "When I'm able to help them, and they are able to open up to me and are comfortable with me, it makes me happy to feel like I gained someone's confidence, and I never want to abuse that."

"It's unfortunate that it took two more students being abused before somebody finally paid attention to what this officer was doing, because this is not an isolated incident," said Thomas Clay, an attorney. "This is a pattern of conduct."

The officer has been suspended without pay from LMPD -- and Board is hoping lessons are learned for the decision makers surrounding the school."He shouldn't have had a chance to do a second student," she said. Hardin faces criminal charges for assault, wanton endangerment, official misconduct and lying. He is due in court Friday. His attorney has not returned calls to WDRB.

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