JCPS urging patience with troubled Minor Daniels Academy - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS urging patience with troubled Minor Daniels Academy

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Assaults, robberies, and teachers who are afraid to come to work. WDRB News first reported the problems at the new Minor Daniels alternative school and now JCPS is responding to the controversy.

JCPS took us inside the school for a tour, but wouldn't allow cameras.

School officials explained their new approach to discipline, which is causing concern among some teachers and parents.

“I really don't approve of the way they're teaching the kids,” said Charrika Gray.

Gray's daughter is a 10th grader at Minor Daniels Academy, the new alternative school for students with behavioral issues. Gray says, so far, she's not impressed.

“They're not disciplining them none. They've given up on them. They send them home. As soon as they do something, they don't want to deal with it. They just push them away,” said Gray.

But some teachers at Minor Daniels say they fear for their safety.

“The profanity, the vulgarity, the threats. I had a student threaten to shoot me when I left school,” said teacher Craig McCrary.

Minor Daniels is the focal point of a new JCPS experiment in teaching and discipline.

The school is now employing something called restorative practices. It requires teachers and staff to not just punish bad behavior, but help kids resolve their issues.

The goal is to return kids to class, and to society.

“Our kids are going to make mistakes, but I think we are all public servants. And I think being public servants that's why we get paid to deal with kids and get them on the right track,” said Principal Don Dillard.

Dillard admits the process is sometimes messy, and not every teacher is buying in.

“We have educators that concentrate on the problems and not actual kid, the potential of the kid,” he said.

The new program was implemented very quickly. Dillard was hired as principal just eight days before school started, and he hired only two of the school's teachers.

“I wish I had more time. I'll be honest with you, I wish I had more time,” said Dillard.

JCPS is urging patience. The district says it will take 3-5 years to see results.

“I don't we have given enough time to really let it get wings and fly,” said John Marshall, the district’s chief equity officer.

But for some parents and teachers, patience is already wearing thin.

“I need for y'all to do y'all's job,” said Gray.

WDRB's Education reporter Toni Konz was also on the tour.

You can read her step-by-step journey through Minor Daniels Academy here.

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