JCPS fires assistant principal over past behavior

Allison Ross

Jefferson County Public Schools has fired an assistant principal after a review of past investigations of his conduct.

Ronald Anthony Johnson, who was an assistant principal at the now-shuttered Kennedy Metropolitan Middle School during the time at least some of his misconduct was alleged but most recently worked at Ramsey Middle, was terminated effective Thursday, according to JCPS spokeswoman Allison Martin.

The CJ has requested Johnson's termination letter, but it was not available Thursday.

Martin said he was terminated for insubordination, conduct unbecoming a teacher, inefficiency, incompetency and neglect of duty.

Johnson is among several employees JCPS has scrutinized in recent months amid a review of some of its previous internal investigations where students were injured by adult staff members. In addition to Johnson, one other employee has been fired, others have received suspensions and others have been returned to their posts with no new discipline following the reviews.

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JCPS has not publicly listed the employees whose past investigations are being reviewed.

Johnson was suspended and then temporarily reassigned in September as the district conducted its review.

He has been with the district since 2000, according to JCPS records. During his tenure, he has been the subject of more than one investigation, although at least some of those investigations were labeled as inconclusive or unsubstantiated.

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

That investigation said that "several students and a staff member recounted instances where (a) staff member has rammed (students') heads into the wall, pinned students with their body weight and repeatedly smacked their fingers."

Fellow former Kennedy Metro staffer Paul Jarrell, who works as an in-school security monitor, was also part of the district's review of past investigations. He was handed a five-day suspension late last year after JCPS said it reviewed a past investigation that found a student at the now-shuttered Kennedy Metropolitan Middle School suffered multiple bruises and muscle strain after being improperly restrained by Jarrell.

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Amid JCPS' reviews of past investigations, the district is also facing heightened scrutiny from the state following a series of stories by the CJ on the district's use and reporting of student restraints.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt in July ordered a review of management practices at JCPS that was triggered by concerns that the state's largest school district had significantly under-reported restraints and also because of an incident first reported by the CJ in May that a boy with autism suffered two broken femurs in 2014 during a restraint at the Binet School. The result of that management review has not yet been released by the state.

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

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