Attorney: JCPS has not notified Ramsey Middle assistant principal of termination
An attorney representing the former assistant principal at Ramsey Middle School who was fired by JCPS this week said as of late Friday, his client has yet to be notified of the termination.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An attorney representing the former assistant principal at Ramsey Middle School who was fired by Jefferson County Public Schools on Thursday says as of later Friday, his client has yet to be notified of the termination.
In a letter sent to Superintendent Donna Hargens on Friday, attorney Will Walsh says Anthony Johnson has "yet to receive any notice" of his termination.
"I am writing on behalf of Anthony Johnson...regarding what we understand to have been your decision to terminate him without furnishing him the notice specifying in detail the reasons therefore as required by KRS 161.790," the letter to Hargens states. "As of my sending you this letter, my client has yet to receive any such notice, and such the period for his requesting administrative due process provided by statute has yet to run."
Jennifer Brislin, a JCPS spokeswoman, told WDRB News on Thursday that Johnson was terminated for "insubordination, conduct unbecoming a teacher, inefficiency, incompetency and neglect of duty."
Brislin could not tell WDRB News on Friday night how Johnson was notified of his termination and if the district had confirmation of such notification.
Johnson was part of a district investigation into the mistreatment of students and adult misconduct from when he was previously assigned to the district's now shuttered alternative middle school. He is one of about a dozen current or former employees being investigated as it relates to adult misconduct involving student injuries alleged to have occurred over the past decade.
He had been reassigned to one of the district's bus compounds in September amid the district's investigation.
In his letter to Hargens, Walsh mentions a Dec. 21 letter sent to Johnson from O'Dell Henderson, the district's director of labor management and employee relations. In that letter, "JCPS references instances in which allegations regarding mistreatment of students which were not substantiated were made against my client."
"With apparent indifference to whether or not Anthony had, in reality, done anything wrong, Mr. Henderson says that because unsubstantiated allegations were made by my client, he must accept a demotion and reassignment or face disciplinary action," Walsh writes. "Since Anthony had not done what was alleged, he could not in good conscious agree to accept even a suspension of three days, which was offered by JCPS regarding this case against him."
Walsh provided WDRB News with a copy of the letter from Henderson to Johnson, which states:
"As you know, in September of 2016, Jefferson County Public Schools reassigned you pending employment related decisions," Henderson wrote. "JCPS has since reviewed your history with the district and found the following:
- Between December 2010 and April of 2014, seven separate students alleged that you inappropriately restrained them or used inappropriate physical force in disciplining them. Although these allegations were unsubstantiated, you were on notice that the safety of our students is our highest priority and such conduct would not be tolerated.
- In the fall of 2014, an investigation substantiated that staff at Kennedy Metropolitan Middle School inappropriately put their hands on students, inappropriately used Safe Crisis Management with students and failed to report physical altercations with students as required by state allegations. In interviews with investigators, multiple students named you, alleging a pattern of misconduct; specifically, students alleged that you escorted them by the neck and pants, slammed them into walls and held or pinned them to the ground. You received an E2 disciplinary conference and specific instruction and direction with regard to your future behavior.
- For the 2015-16 school year, you were reassigned to Ramsey Middle School. In October of 2015, a student alleged that when he refused to leave your office, you pushed him into a wall. At that time, that allegation was unsubstantiated.
- This fall, during a review of that in August of 2015, you grabbed him by his backpack and pushed him into a chair in your office causing him to hit his arm. This allegation is substantially similar to those reported in the Kentucky Metropolitan investigation and evidence a continued pattern of inappropriate force with students."
"Given this history, the instruction and direction you received....the district is prepared to pursue disciplinary action," Henderson's letter continues. "However, the district would agree to accept your request for a voluntary reassignment/demotion from your current position of middle school assistant principal to the duties of a classified position...at a salary no less than $87,457.99 per year, effective Jan. 3, 2017. This would be a non-instructional, non-human resources position in JCPS operations."
In his letter to Hargens, Walsh says "it is totally unfair to my client to allow a false impression that he has mishandled students as conveyed to the public, or that such allegations were ever substantiated."
"If JCPS will not provide notice of termination to my client forthwith, I demand that he be unconditionally returned to his position as assistant principal of Ramsey Middle School immediately," Walsh writes.
According to the JCPS salary database, Johnson made $105,000 as an assistant principal.
Walsh also questioned why "unsubstantiated allegations from years past were re-investigated, presumably to see whether the prior findings in his favor might be altered."
"As yet, I am unaware pursuant to what authority or conception of fair play or justice this re-investigation of my client might have preceeded," Walsh said. "It is obviously offensive to ideals of due process that a person once investigated and cleared might be again be subjected to scrutiny regarding the same matter or matters years later."
In an email to WDRB News late Friday, Walsh says: "We will have no further comment at least until such time as we are able to determine whether Anthony has actually been terminated."
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