Demand grows for police removal from Jefferson County Public Schools

The Jeffersontown High School incident was captured on cell phone video last week, one student charged police, he was taken to the ground and tased.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Concerns continue to grow at Jeffersontown High School, specifically if police were too violent in dealing with students.

The incidents were captured on cell phone video last week, showing one student charging police, he was taken to the ground and tased.

Officials say it all started with a run in between two students in the cafeteria and now several groups are expressing concerns over what happened next.

Multiple organizations are calling for the immediate removal of police in Jefferson County Public Schools, from Louisville Showing up for Racial Justice, The Fairness Campaign and Black Lives Matter-Louisville just to name a few.

Those members say police use is escalating and in particular, targeting youth of color who receive the harshest treatment and disciplinary action. 

It's the video that sparking debate now, should police be allowed in schools and able to respond to incidents as they would when patrolling the streets? 

Linda Duncan, a JCPS Board Member said, "When you see a child who is out of control and struggling even against the police, it’s always very disturbing." 

Chris Hartman, with The Fairness Campaign asks at a news conference, "Shouldn't our children feel safe and protected when they go to school and isn't there a problem when their safety and protection is at jeopardy by the very people they have been promised will protect them?" 

Members from a handful of social and racial justice organizations including Louisville showing up for Racial Justice say they are incredibly disturbed by what they call the public tasing, humiliation and beating of these students and they want police out of local schools.

Michael Aldridge, Executive Director of The ACLU of Kentucky adds, "When a white boy gets in trouble, he's a bad boy, when a black boy gets in trouble, he's a criminal or a delinquent. We think the resources would be better used in investing in counselors and de-escalation techniques." 

But not everyone agrees, as Linda Duncan said, "I don't know who is going to take control. It looks like the kids who are out of control will be the ones who will be in charge." Duncan says police should be in schools. 

The Jeffersontown Police Department says there were three fights on this day and the student in that fight was arrested, that's when his brother reacted by attacking the officer.

The Jeffersontown Police Chief defends his three officers who he says were injured as well. 

Duncan states, "Our staff has watched people being disciplined and terminated for restraining students that were out of control and I think a lot of that appeared last year and it's made staff very hesitant to get involved." 

Multiple investigations have been launched by the district and Duncan wants to let those take their course first before considering eliminating the contract with Jeffersontown Police.

For some, they say the time for change is now. The discussion of severing ties with Jeffersontown Police since last week's fight is not on the board's Nov. 7 agenda but board member Chris Kolb, who wants the contract ended, is hoping to introduce a motion on the topic.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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