Jeffersontown High principal to address violence after video of - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jeffersontown High principal to address violence after video of fight surfaces on social media

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The principal of Jeffersontown High School says new security procedures will be implemented after video of an in-school fight surfaced on social media Friday.

The principal, Matt Kingsley, made the announcement in an e-mail that was sent home to parents on Sunday.

On Friday, video of a fight, purportedly taken at the high-school that morning, began to circulate on social media. The video appeared to show two students fighting and punching each other in the school hallway, while a crowd of students screamed and shouted.

The email to parents was sent hours after Kingsley sent a note to faculty and staff early Sunday, saying the "events of this past week with their unfortunate postings on social media have cast our school in a terrible light."

"The worst part for me is the fact that our students and yourselves do not feel safe in our building," Kingsley said. "This is not what J-town High School is and I’m not going to let this horrible perception continue any longer."

Kingsley's e-mail to parents reads as follows:

20 March 2016

Dear Charger Families,

I wanted to let you know about a fight that occurred at Jeffersontown High School on Friday morning and video of that fight was posted on social media.  I want to assure you that recent events have not been random acts.  They've been the result of previous disagreements between specific people, and our school is implementing a proactive strategy to reduce these incidents in the future.  

I am meeting with my administrative team tomorrow morning to review what happened, how it happened, and what we need to do to make sure situations like this are prevented in the future. 

With the cooperation of my Asst. Superintendent, Michelle Dillard, a district level team will be in the building tomorrow, 3/21, to [assess] our current systems, procedures, and personnel. Their recommendations will, in combination with my plans, be implemented immediately. We will keep you informed of these changes so that you can be prepared.

We have already implemented several new procedures in the building; however, our next step needs to be adjusting the locations of our security guards and other adults during student transition times.

Again, I want to assure you that this is currently my top priority. I have secured additional district security personnel to be on hand starting tomorrow and have new systems in place ASAP. All of the great students at J-town deserve an environment where they can learn and grow. 

Sincerely,
Dr. Matt Kingsley
Principal, Jeffersontown High School

WDRB's Fallon Glick spoke with one student who witnessed Friday's fight. She described it as punches thrown, and "blood everywhere."

"It was scary," said Alison Wigley, a Jeffersontown High School senior. "It was very scary."

"They started swinging at each other and got up against a wall and just punched him against a wall really, really hard, and there was blood everywhere," Wigley added.   

Wigley says it happened on Friday during a five-minute passing period leaving lunch. 

"I wasn't shocked because I'm kind of used to it, and I kind of just tend to pass by and not say anything about it and just be like, 'Whatever,'" she said. 

In a video provided to WDRB anonymously, students can be seen egging on the fight in the hallway and along the staircase. 

Wigley says the fights happen once a week. She either sees them, or hears about them from classmates. 

"I'm worried to be at school about 90 percent of the time," she said.

Despite the principal's e-mail, Wigley says no amount of rules will help because the students starting the fights don't care about the consequences.

"Kids in my school don't care about discipline," she said. "They're very strict about it, like you fight, you're suspended. They'll grab hold of you, get you out of there as soon as we can, get kids to class. They handle it very well."

Whatever the new plans are, Wigley hopes the violence will subside.

"This is my last month at J-town, and I want it to be good and not full of fights," she said.

She says she doesn't want to be left with negative memories of high school. 

This is not the first violent incident to be reported at or near the school recently.

Earlier this month, three students were charged with assault in connection with a Feb. 29 incident in the woods behind the school. Police say they were part of a group of students who skipped class last week to drink alcohol in the woods. Officers say an argument turned violent and three students punched and kicked the victim in the face, stomach and groin.

The victim was hospitalized with a head injury and was briefly put on a ventilator. 

Henry Perkins, age 18, is charged with assault in connection with that incident. The other two students were minors.

Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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