UPDATE: JCPS teacher fired amid student injury investigation - WDRB 41 Louisville News

UPDATE: JCPS teacher fired amid student injury investigation

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Jefferson County Public Schools has fired a teacher who was previously suspended and reprimanded amid a district investigation into adult misconduct involving student injuries.

Jodi Anderson, a teacher at Fairdale Elementary School, was terminated by the district on Monday, according to a JCPS spokeswoman.

According to Anderson's termination letter, obtained by WDRB in an open records request, she was fired for "conduct unbecoming of a teacher, inefficiency, incompetency and neglect of duty."

Anderson, who was suspended with pay on Sept. 14  for "further review and investigation of allegations of a pattern of poor professional judgement and unsafe behavior with students."

She was one of 10 employees who were suspended on Sept 14 and is among the 14 employees Superintendent Donna Hargens referred to in a report to the Jefferson County Board of Education on Aug. 23.

In that report, Hargens said the district made a "data entry discrepancy" in reporting to the state the number of times students were either physically held down or confined to a room during the 2014-15 school year.

Anderson has been the subject of several previous district investigations involving improper restraint.

Each of those incidents are outlined in her five-page termination letter, which states that earlier this month, "an investigator interviewed two former employees who confirmed a pattern of your misconduct beginning on or about the 2006-2007 school year and continued through the school year 2014-2015."

The letter states: 

  • "On or about the 2006-2007 through the 2014-2015 school years, you consistently used physical restraint as a means of student discipline and/or classroom management."
  • "On or about the 2006-2007 through the 2009-2010 school years, you failed to allow students to eat lunch in the school cafeteria. Instead, you had students eat lunch in the classroom. On multiple occasions, you withheld food from students until they completed certain tasks."

  • "On or about the 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and/or 2009-2010 school years, you agitated a student, until he cursed and/or spit and then physically restrained him."

  • "On or about the 2006-2007 through the 2014-2015 school years, on multiple occasions with multiple students, you placed a pencil between the student's index and middle fingers and applied pressure until the student was in tears or tried to get away at which time you used a physical restraint."

  • "On or about the 2010-2011 school year to the 2014-2015, you stated to a student who had pulled his penis out of his pants on the bus that his'actions could lead to his penis being cut off."

Anderson is one of 14 employees Superintendent Donna Hargens referred to in a report to the Jefferson County Board of Education on Aug. 23. In that report, Hargens said the district made a "data entry discrepancy" in reporting to the state the number of times students were either physically held down or confined to a room during the 2014-15 school year.

According to records obtained through an open records request, Anderson had previously worked at Layne Elementary School. She was reassigned to Fairdale Elementary this summer.

A July 2016 letter in Anderson's personnel file, the district said it deemed a "pattern a poor professional judgment and unsafe behavior." 

Anderson was transferred from Layne to Fairdale and told she would not, in her tenure with JCPS, be assigned to a special-needs self-contained classroom. She was also told she was not permitted to certify in Safe Crisis Management. 

The documents obtained by WDRB show that JCPS investigators substantiated allegations against Anderson on three separate occasions since 2011.

The first incident happened in May of 2011, after Anderson allegedly held a child by his neck, causing scratches. According to the investigation, the child stated Anderson scratched him and that it is "OK because the teacher is trained for this." 

The second incident happened in November 2014, when Anderson took a boy out of his chair and placed him against the wall with his hands behind him. She continued to restrain him for over 40 minutes, even after the boy began vomiting, then gave the boy Lysol wipes to clean up his own vomit.

The third incident occurred in December of 2015 after Anderson allegedly performed a Safe Crisis Management restraint on a student, even though her certification had been revoked after the November 2014 incident.

This story will be updated.

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UPDATE: JCPS suspends several employees amid student injury investigation

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