LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Iroquois High School had a tough start to the semester, but it's ending it with a new leader who is committed to making a difference.
WAVE 3 News has reported about students being arrested, and we’ve seen the videos of fights between students and even some teachers at the school in recent months.
“People look at this school and that’s all that they see, they see the negative things, they see the fights,” senior Mahogany McKenzie said.
McKenzie and her classmates said they are used to outsiders judging them and having misconceptions about Iroquois.
“They only see what they can see through the window, but what’s inside is really beautiful and lovely,” junior Keshondre Threets said.
Through surveys, meetings, and hallway interactions, new principal Rob Fulk has heard from nearly 1,000 students about the changes they want to see in their school.
“They desire more than anything else that their school is seen as a normal high school in Jefferson County,” Fulk said. “What we’ve really tried to do is listen to the students and the staff, and kind of see where we’re at and see where we need to go.”
From that feedback, he’s narrowed his focus on three main priorities: First, changing the culture and climate. Fulk said he wants students and staff to know they’re supported. Second, infrastructure improvements. They’ve already been making small changes like new murals to make the building more inviting. Third, community outreach. Letting people know about students like Zo Simmons, who was just accepted into Xavier University in Cincinnati.
“A lot of people don’t know who we are,” Simmons said. “We aren’t the bad people. You just don’t get to see it.”
Fulk said he knows great things were there long before he was, and he’s determined to get others to believe in Iroquois, too.
“Sometimes we allow some of the more negative stories to push the narrative of the school when we have a tremendous amount of students here who are doing amazing things,” Fulk said.
The first school policies Fulk said he will target after students come back from winter break are tardiness and maximizing time in the classroom.