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Community Advocates Organize to Suspend School Police from Jeffersontown High School

Louisville, KY — Local education advocates, Jeffersontown High School students and families today will call on the Jefferson County Board of Education to terminate its contract between the Jeffersontown High School and the Jeffersontown Police Department just days after the #AssaultAtJeffersonTown, where school resource officers called the police department to deal with two students who’d been in a school fight. The Alliance for Education Justice, Kentucky Alliance for Youth Development, along with community residents will hold a 6:30 p.m. press conference at in front of the VanHoose Education Center in Louisville, KY before the Jefferson County Board of Education meeting.

“It would appear the very same police that are killing Black youth in the streets have found their way into our schools,” said Jonathan Stith, organizer for Alliance for Educational Justice. “The only lesson they teach our youth is that they are criminals in their own classrooms. We must end the war being waged on our youth. And we must start with dismantling the arrangements between schools and the police. Police don’t belong in schools.”

Jefferson County Public School Board member Chris Kolb agrees and plans to introduce a bill today that would terminate the agreement between the school and the police department that contracts with school resource officers, but the Board may deny his request because it is not on tonight’s agenda.

“It is clearly the officer who escalates the situation,” said Kolb during a Wave3 News interview. “The sad thing is that these officers were there supposedly to prevent things like this from happening. And it’s actually their presence that created an event like this.”

He added that the arrival of the school police was a breach of contract and will also push tonight for the release of the surveillance video that captured the #AssaultOnJeffersontown.

“The assault at Jeffersontown High School by police officers should remind us that police officers often escalate violence with youth and that police misconduct in schools is a national epidemic — one that requires their removal for the safety of our children, but also to move away from national trends to make schools more like jails,” said Angelo Pinto, senior attorney for Advancement Project’s national office.

“The current climate at not only Jeffersontown High School, but all of Jefferson County Public Schools, has festered from doing business as usual,” said Chanelle Helm, Black Lives Matter Louisville. “While I think we’d love to think that in this moment we have elevated to a place of non-accountability, we’ve actually only scratched the surface of some deep seeded white patriarchy.”

“The #AssaultAtJeffersontown is not an isolated event. It is part of the national crisis between police and communities of color playing out in our schools,” Stith added. “Since the #AssaultAtSpringValley in 2015, there have been 20 similar recorded assaults. The #AssaultAtJeffersontown is the sixth one of 2017 and the second one in Louisville.”

For media opportunities, please contact Zerline Hughes Spruill at zhughes@advancementproject.org or 202–487–0967.

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