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Retired librarian says incident involving Western principal highlights growing violence issue in JCPS

Rebecca Ansari worked at Western for ten years. She said administrators are not suspending students enough for disruptive or violent behavior.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A principal at Western High School was taken to the hospital Tuesday after a student made physical contact with him, according to officials with Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). A JCPS spokesperson said the principal intervened after a student was being threatening toward staff.

The student was detained by JCPS security and the principal was quickly released from the hospital, but a recently retired librarian at Western said the incident highlights a growing problem within this school - and the district as a whole.

Rebecca Ansari worked at Western for ten years as a librarian. Even though she no longer works at the school, she said it still feels like her responsibility to address this issue.

"These kids do need to be disciplined," she said. Ansari said she believes school administrators don't discipline students to the degree they deserve. She added that schools need to be more supported when it comes to suspending students.

"It's just sad that the schools are asked to put up with so much...it's unfortunate," she said.

RELATED: LMPD: Student, staff member hurt after 'altercations' at Iroquois High School

State data reflects a decreasing number of suspensions within JCPS over the years.

Ansari said the numbers would be significantly higher if there were stricter consequences for disruptive and violent behavior. She believes the lack of discipline is leading to an increase in violence at Western.

"There's just no consequence for their bad behavior," she said.

After this story aired, a JCPS spokesperson issued the following statement in response to Ansari's statements:

Creating a positive culture and climate in our schools is one of pillars in JCPS. Through restorative practices, our bullying prevention department, and training in de-escalation strategies, we have measures in place to reduce incidents and peacefully resolve conflicts that may arise.

Across the district, the total number of fights in the first 71 days of this school year is down more than 40% from the same time period two years ago. The students who are getting into fights are being disciplined according to our Student Support and Behavior Intervention Handbook.

JCPS officials said the student involved in the incident at Western will be disciplined, but details about what that discipline will look like were not provided.

Contact reporter Paula Vasan at pvasan@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@PaulaVasan) and Facebook.


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