JCPS considers policy changes following fight, arrests at Jeffer - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS considers policy changes following fight, arrests at Jeffersontown High School

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools will provide more guidance on the roles of school resource officers and how police officers should interact with students following a fight between students at Jeffersontown High School that led to police tasing one of them in November.

Acting Superintendent Marty Pollio announced the findings of reports Thursday that focused on the incident at Jeffersontown High School and the school district's use of school resource officers.

Pollio said JCPS will begin developing updated protocols for how school resource officers are utilized in the district, which has agreements with the Louisville Metro Police Department, Jeffersontown Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and St. Matthews Police Department for school resource officers.

The reports recommend that JCPS expand its explanation of officers' responsibilities and what behaviors warrant police intervention while also calling for improved training for police and school staff, including appropriate times to contact law enforcement. They also call for an oversight and review process at JCPS to make sure school resource officers are effectively used in schools.

"Although some of this work is ongoing, I will immediately begin working with my staff to draft recommended policies and update our existing agreements with departments that provide our school resource officers," Pollio said.

Pollio asked for the reviews after a fight between two students at Jeffersontown High School over headphones Nov. 1. A school resource officer intervened and called for backup, and when a brother of one of the students allegedly attacked a responding Jeffersontown Police officer as he joined the scuffle, the responding officer tased him.

Both brothers were arrested, and video of the confrontation went viral. The incident prompted a debate at a Nov. 28 Jefferson County Board of Education meeting on the roles of school resource officers in the district's schools.

Pollio said JCPS has met with police departments that provide school resource officers and expects cooperation as the district redevelops its guidelines.

"They all are very willing to work with us," he said. "Just as we do, they want what's best for the community and students."

Jeffersontown Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pollio said he believes the recommendations, once implemented, "will provide a more positive learning environment for our schools, staff and students moving forward and provide for safe school environments."

"I believe SROs can be very effective in supporting safe schools," he said.

"But I also believe that, as with anything in an effective organization, systems are so important, systems and structures, and clearly I think we have now seen through these reports and investigations that we have some systems lacking when it comes to consistency across all of the organizations that supply us with SROs, training, communication, and several other areas that you'll find in the reports," he added.

Following the fight at the school, Jefferson High School Principal Matt Kingsley requested a voluntary demotion Nov. 7. JCPS named Matt Anderson acting principal Nov. 14.
 
Pollio says they hope to have a permanent principal in place by mid-February. 

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Reach reporter Kevin Wheatley at 502-585-0838 and kwheatley@wdrb.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevinWheatleyKY.

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