LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Police have filed felony charges against four Iroquois High School students accused of breaking another student’s jaw and leaving him on the bathroom floor, bleeding.
Three of the students are juveniles. They've been charged with second-degree assault, first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and second-degree criminal mischief, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spokesman Carl Yates said. All but the criminal mischief charge are felonies.
The sheriff's office said a fourth suspect, 18-year-old Damon Simmons Jr., was arrested Friday night and charged with second-degree assault and second-degree criminal mischief.
The victim, a 17-year-old senior, was taken to Norton Children’s Hospital after the assault Thursday. His mother, Carrie Skaggs, said he was scheduled to undergo surgery Friday to insert a metal plate in his jaw.
She said her son heard a group enter the bathroom and open stall doors, so he hurried and tried to leave. That’s when the assault began.
“One of them hit him, and then all of a sudden they were all on him,” Skaggs said. “He doesn’t remember too much at all.”
“He’s not doing good mentally or physically,” she said.
Skaggs said she received a call from the school after her son was found unresponsive on the bathroom flood “with so much blood that they didn’t know where it was coming from.”
“Why him?” she said. “It could’ve been anyone else in that school, but why him? He does what he’s supposed to do, so why pick on a kid that is there to get an education?”
Yates told WDRB News on Thursday that surveillance footage at Iroquois shows the four suspects entering and leaving the bathroom. The sheriff’s office recently provided two deputies to act as school resource officers and sent two more to the school on Friday, he said.
Renee Murphy, communications director for Jefferson County Public Schools, said the four have been disciplined.
Murphy told WDRB News that along with the SROs, the district has provided Iroquois two additional security staff.
Thursday’s assault is the latest act of violence to hit Iroquois this school year. In October, Principal Clay Holbrook was hit in the face while trying to break up a fight involving six female students. That same month, a teacher and student over his use of a cell phone. JCPS is investigating that incident.
Murphy said the district is listening to Iroquois administrators, staff and students about what’s working at the school and ways it can improve. JCPS also is looking at forming a committee of parents, teachers and community members to look at what’s needed at the school.
“We know that we need to provide some supports,” Murphy said. “They’ve had some challenges this year, and so we’re looking at what would be the best way to support the school.”
That includes added security and long-term solutions to improve the climate to boost students’ sense of belonging, she said.
But Skaggs worries that any changes may be too little, too late.
She believes “wholeheartedly” that “somebody’s going to end up dead in that school.”
“Something has to be done to keep these kids safe, and right now Iroquois is not safe,” Skaggs said.
Simmons appeared in court Saturday morning. A judge set his bond at $25,000. The judge said the victim's teeth were knocked loose and he is still in the hospital. Simmons is set to be in court again Nov. 26.
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