JCPS does not discuss removal of officers from schools

Shouts and protests of "black kids matter" interrupted a Nov. 7 Jefferson County School Board meeting. It came as one school board member was hoping to begin the process of removing J-Town police from Jeffersontown high school after a fight.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – There was chaos inside a Jefferson County Public School Board meeting Tuesday night after the board did not discuss the removal of officers from Jeffersontown High School. 

A group, made up of organizations like Black Lives Matter and Alliance for Educational Justice, were escorted out by security. 

“We're saying we don't want our schools to be prisons, and that's what they are,” Chanelle Helm with Black Lives Matter Louisville said. 

The videos that made waves last week at Jeffersontown High School are prompting the question: are officers in schools a good idea? JCPS Board member Dr. Chris Kolb told WHAS11 ‘no’ after watching how Jeffersontown Police officers held down and tazed a student after that student punched an officer in the face. Dr. Kolb said he also watched all of the school's surveillance video.

“A law enforcement officer involves himself in that very quickly in a way that escalates the situation, grabbing the child, within two seconds of grabbing him, has him thrown on the ground,” he explained.  “It really incensed some of the students, including the student's brother who reacted in a way that you don't want people to react, but would not have reacted that way if the officer had not created the situation in the first place.”

A teacher who said she was there when the incident occurred is siding with officers. 

“I don't like what I saw, but I also knew it was for the safety of children in that building,” Casey Laskee said. “This child that was attacking the officer was not just trying to get out, or away from the officer.”

Kolb was disappointed when he learned that his discussion could not be added to the agenda, because of the way the special meeting was formatted. 

Board member Linda Duncan believes police should remain but doesn’t think it should be up for discussion while the incident is still under investigation.

“I think it's inappropriate for us to comment or pass judgment on what happened there.”

Despite no vote, others in the crowd still voiced their concerns during the public comment period of the meeting, including Jeffersontown High teachers and staff. 

“I do not feel safe, and having an SRO and having extra police makes me feel safe,” one staff member in favor of police said. 

“How can we show that we care?  First by not criminalizing students by having law enforcement in our schools. Instead, we need to hire more counselors,” said another person not in favor of police in schools.

Dr. Kolb said he will try to call a special meeting at some point next week to continue the conversation. 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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