Superintendent Donna Hargens addresses turmoil within JCPS - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Superintendent Donna Hargens addresses turmoil within JCPS

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Last night was the conclusion of a week that saw 140 walk-ins and protests within Jefferson County Public Schools. 

"Over 5,000 people have shown that they're gravely concerned about the direction of our education system," said parent Tim Druck.

Angry parents and teachers demonstrated for hours Tuesday with purpose.

"We're going to send them a message," he added.

The signs, chants, and honking are all about two big issues: 1) proposed changes to the student code of conduct that would reduce punishments, and, 2)  a proposal to freeze pay for some JCPS employees.

Superintendent Donna Hargens addressed the criticism today.

"I appreciate the feedback, and the voices," Hargens said.

Still, some are calling for her job.

"Donna needs to go!" chanted a crowd on Tuesday night. They weren't the only ones heated. 

"It makes me question Dr. Hargens, your leadership. I'm unclear and I'm uncertain of it," said JCPS School Board member Stephanie Horne.

Her response came after an internal auditor disclosed that JCPS employees and administrators under-reported the number of times students were physically held down or confined to a room by a significant amount last year.

"We need to have someone looking over their shoulders, saying, 'Wait, is this information correct? Lets compare this to national averages. Let's compare this to other schools,'" Director of Internal Audits Tim Tencza explained.

As last night's turmoil sinks in, and amid those calls for her job, WDRB asked Dr. Hargens about her future with JCPS.

"I'm committed to Jefferson County Public Schools and to the students," she said.

Hargens says she plans on having a "Superintendent Summit" on the best way to move forward in mid-May.

It's invitation only.

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