Head Start report shows allegations of abuse to JCPS students

JCPS Board discusses Head Start program

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Seven Jefferson County Public School Head Start employees are out a job and it could just be the beginning of a broader investigation as a report reveals the mistreatment of several children under the districts care.

The facts so shocking the head of the Office of Head Start flew to Louisville to tell school leaders they are on notice.

"This is a five-alarm fire and we need every hand on deck," said Ann Linehan, the acting director of the Office of Head Start.

Interim Superintendent Marty Pollio promising a culture change after a Head Start Review Report found teachers bit, slapped and forced fed children.  The cases date back to last school year.

"Abuse, neglect or mistreatment of children in any manner in JCPS will not be tolerated," said Dr. Pollio.

The report was written by the administration for Children and Families, which is a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services.  The allegations are so severe Linehan threatened to pull the plug on the district's federally funded program.

"We have back home a draft of an emergency suspension.  That's how seriously we take this," she told school board members.

But, the allegations are not surprising to one Head Start employee.  "Teachers been hitting kids and nothing has been done," she told WHAS11.

She did not want to show her face because she still works for JCPS. She tells us kids with special needs were also mistreated.  "Meetings were held without the parent's involvement and everything," she explained.

The district is having to come up with a corrective action plan, even though some board members say it will take years to fix.

"I would hate to say on public record but I will. But it will probably take the next decade to right all of the wrongs that have occurred over the last seven years," said board member Benjamin Gies.

The board has until October 27 to submit a corrective action plan.  They are currently in the progress of updating reporting protocols, revising disciplinary actions and offering more training for staff.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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