Assistant principal returns to Moore Traditional School followin - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Assistant principal returns to Moore Traditional School following JCPS investigation

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An assistant principal at Moore Traditional School who was suspended and then reassigned amid a district investigation into adult misconduct returned to work Thursday with no further disciplinary action taken against him.

Donald Hudson is among at least 10 current Jefferson County Public Schools employees who were suspended with pay on Sept. 14, then reassigned to non-instructional duties while the district investigated "patterns of poor professional judgment and unsafe behaviors with students."

According to a letter from Superintendent Donna Hargens to Watson on Wednesday, the district conducted a "thorough review of past allegations" and referenced a Feb. 2013 incident in which Hudson used an Aikido-style technique to restrain and guide a student to his office at Kennedy Metro Middle School. During that incident, the student received a bruise to the right side of his face and his wrist was broken. 

Following that incident, Hudson was told to receive additional training and practice in the use of physical restraint, which he did.

"As you have already received a disciplinary conference for your conduct, the district has no choice but to close this review," the Nov. 9 letter states. "You are hearby advised that if from this date forward, should you violate any board policy or state law, and such violation is substantiated, you will be terminated."

Hudson, who had been assigned to the Detrick Bus Compound since Sept 16, told WDRB News on Thursday he is happy to be back at Moore.

"I am happy to be back working with kids and teachers, which is where I belong," Hudson said.

Over the past few months, JCPS officials have been investigating a number of incidents over the past decade involving student injuries, following Hargens’ Aug. 23 report to the Jefferson County Board of Education indicating that 14 employees were involved.

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.

On Sept. 14, JCPS suspended 10 employees with pay and reassigned them to non-instructional duties throughout the course of the investigation. Incidents involving four other employees no longer employed with JCPS are also under investigation.

WDRB has independently confirmed that at least one other administrator -- Ramsey Middle School assistant principal Ronald Anthony Johnson, a Stuart Academy teacher, Matthew Hand, as well as two school security officers -- Kevin Watson at Breckinridge Metro High School and Paul Jarrell at King Elementary School -- were among those suspended and reassigned. 

Watson returned to work at Breckinridge Metro with no further disciplinary action taken against him, because he too, had already been disciplined for a September 2015 incident in which a student suffered a head injury after being slammed onto a table, according to a copy of an investigative report in his personnel file, obtained by WDRB in an open records request.

Watson and Breckinridge Metro High principal have since been sued by the student involved in that incident.

JCPS officials could not immediately say if Johnson or Jarrell have returned to work as of Thursday.

Hand was reassigned from his teaching position as JCPS reviewed a December 2014 investigation in which a substantiated investigation said he had held students' arms behind their backs. 

Hand was allowed to return to work Wednesday, according to a letter from Hargens dated Monday. He will also face no further discipline. 

In addition, Jodi Anderson, a Fairdale Elementary School teacher who had been the subject of several previous district investigations involving improper restraint, was also suspended on Sept. 14 – and was later fired by JCPS on Sept. 26. She was later fired and has appealed to the state.

The district also fired Rutherford Elementary School teacher Theresa Mason on Sept. 15 after investigators found she hit a kindergartner, held him in a choke hold and then let another child kick him during a May 2016 incident.

In August, Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt ordered schools to immediately stop using aikido martial art as a form of restraining students.

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