LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools says despite media reports, there is not a discipline crisis within the school district, but that the incidents are isolated and being shown out of context.
"I know that it is difficult to hear about individual behavior incidents and to keep the big pictures in mind and in a context," Superintendent Donna Hargens said. "Know that we monitor data daily. In general, we don't see a dramatic difference."
Hargens cited data from a five-year period that shows there is a natural fluctuation across the five years, but the data remains stable with 5% of JCPS students getting a referral for disruptive behavior so far this year.
Over five years, student-on-student fighting has increased by 45%. So far in the 2015-2016 school year, about 3% (2,748) of students have been referred for fighting. But bus disturbances are down by 15% with just 2% of students being referred for a problem on the bus.
When looking at bus fights, that number jumps up again with an 11% jump and 2% of students being referred for a bus fight.
"Employees, frankly, don't understand why is being portrayed as a crisis," Hargens said. "There is definitely a perception problem."
Hargens explained part of the strategic plan is to create a 311 program to answer questions. She also recommends contacting the Ombudsman, a confidential resource serving all stakeholders. with questions or concerns.
"We are not in a crisis," Hargens said, "We do not hide that we have challenges. We all need to withhold judgment about a particular situation if we do not know the facts."