Lawsuit alleges ‘unsafe and hostile environments’ at four JCPS schools

All six of the plaintiffs said they are after a safe work place and learning environment where...
All six of the plaintiffs said they are after a safe work place and learning environment where neither the teachers nor students are afraid.(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Feb. 21, 2019 at 7:55 PM EST
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The four schools involved in the lawsuit are Jeffersontown High School, Coleridge-Taylor Motessori Elementary, Seneca High School and Fern Creek High School.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Four schools within the Jefferson County Public Schools district are under fire, facing a lawsuit that alleges the students and staff are forced to deal with “unsafe and hostile environments.”

The four schools involved in the lawsuit are Jeffersontown High School, Coleridge-Taylor Montessori Elementary, Seneca High School and Fern Creek High School.

The accusations start as far back as 2014, but the pain is still very fresh for those involved and it brings up major emotions for them.

Two current staff members at Fern Creek are suing over the district’s response to the September 2014 shooting at the school. They say little has been done to protect them and the students since the shooting.

“We don’t have any more secure doors, no alarms, no metal detectors and why is that?” Tamera Collins said.

Collins is an attendance clerk at the school and gets choked up remembering how she hid 15 students in her office that day.

“Why is it that we are expendable as people?” Collins said. “I don’t understand.”

One of the cases involves a fight between students at Jeffersontown High in August of last year where counselor Sharita Bransford was injured. She said she called out for school security several times and no one came to help her.

Bransford is an Air Force veteran and served in Iraq.

“I have been through quite a bit in my life, but this has been probably one of the hardest things that I’ve ever experienced,” Bransford said. “I really loved my job and I enjoyed what I did and all I ever wanted to do was help.”

Bransford is on medical leave now for PTSD and for physical problems she suffered during the fight. She said she is petrified to go back to work at that school.

Other longtime teachers said they were forced to retire after they say they suffered continuous harassment by students and a lack of support from their principal.

"I strived for what was best for the children and I’ve always gotten along with everyone, but this year was so different,” Jane Braggs said. “I’ve never been so maliciously attacked.”

All six of the plaintiffs said they are after a safe work place and learning environment where neither the teachers nor students are afraid. They said they hope the lawsuit is the start of that change.

JCPS does not comment on pending litigation.

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