JCPS suspends 10 staffers amid injury review

Allison Ross

Jefferson County Public Schools has confirmed it suspended 10 employees Wednesday as the district reviews several of its past internal investigations where students were injured from the actions of adult staff members.

All employees have been suspended with pay, JCPS spokeswoman Allison Martin said, adding that the employees will soon be reassigned to non-instructional duties while the district continues its investigations.

Among those suspended Wednesday are two employees mentioned in Courier-Journal stories this week about the use of Aikido Control Training to restrain students at two JCPS schools, as well as a teacher whose three investigations for her use of restraint were detailed earlier this year in the CJ.

JCPS has said it has been working with lawyers since March to review 14 of the district's past investigations from as far back as 2005 that "involved student injuries and alleged employee misconduct" to see if those investigations were handled properly.

JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens said the district's legal counsel has engaged a retired FBI agent to help go through the cases.

Martin said Friday that 10 of the 14 employees were put on suspension Wednesday. She said the people involved in the four other investigations had previously left the district.

Martin would not name the 10 employees who were suspended Wednesday as part of this investigation review.

However, she did confirm that King Elementary school security monitor Paul Jarrell and Ramsey Middle assistant principal Ronald Anthony Johnson were suspended Wednesday.

Both Jarrell and Johnson were featured prominently in a 2014 JCPS investigation that found that some staff at the now-shuttered Kennedy Metro Middle alternative school inappropriately put their hands on students, mishandled the use of seclusion and failed to report physical altercations.

Martin also confirmed that teacher Jodi Anderson, who now works at Fairdale Elementary, was suspended Wednesday.

Earlier this year, JCPS opened a review into teacher Jodi Anderson following questions from the CJ about past investigations of Anderson's use of restraint on students.

One of those prior investigations, in 2014, found that Anderson, then a special-needs teacher at Layne Elementary, pulled a young boy out of his chair and held his arms behind his back and his body against a wall – continuing to restrain him even after the boy began vomiting and then later making the boy clean up his own vomit.

JCPS initially did little to reprimand Anderson beyond taking away her restraint and seclusion certification – known as Safe Crisis Management certification.

But following a new review of Anderson's past investigations, JCPS moved Anderson out of Layne Elementary, assigning her as a second-grade teacher at Fairdale Elementary.

It is unclear why Anderson is now being suspended.

Meanwhile, the Courier-Journal reported earlier this week that Breckinridge Metro High in-school security monitor Kevin Watson and Moore Traditional High assistant principal Donald Hudson were both suspended Wednesday.

A JCPS investigator in November 2015 said that Watson slammed a student's head against a table during an incident in September 2015. That investigation found that, "when the student attempted to get up (after her head hit the table), Mr. Watson then pressed the student's head against the table and stated, 'How do you like that?'"

Watson received a written reprimand in February over that incident. He said he had been trying to restrain the girl using an Aikido Control Technique when she hit her head on the table, according to the JCPS investigation.

JCPS investigated Hudson in 2013 over an incident where a student's wrist was broken during a restraint. Hudson, then assistant principal at Buechel Metropolitan High, said he used the "control 1" Aikido Control Technique to restrain a disruptive student, who had tried to twist and get away from Hudson, according to a statement he provided investigators.

Hudson was told to receive additional training and practice in the use of physical restraint following the incident.

Reporter Allison Ross can be reached at (502) 582-4241. Follow the Courier-Journal's education team at