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‘It’s only a matter of time’: Retired JCPS teachers believes guns in schools are growing threat

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:56 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - After two loaded guns were found in two different schools within Jefferson County Public Schools in a 24-hour span, a former JCPS teacher said he believes their presence is indicative of the city’s drastic spike in violence.

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Two JCPS students, one with a stolen loaded gun, were arrested at Seneca High School Wednesday for their alleged involvement in an armed carjacking. Less than a day later, Louisville Metro Police Department officers were called to Stuart Middle School on Valley Station Road on a report of a weapon at school on Thursday. The loaded gun was found in a student’s backpack, an LMPD spokesperson said.

“It’s so scary when these situations happen, because you never know how they’re going to go,” Mike Beard said.

Beard retired from Iroquois High School in July but has been advocating to put school resource officers back in JCPS schools since they were removed in 2019.

“(When SROs were removed) that was just an immediate call to arms to get some information on that,” Beard said.

Beard told WAVE 3 News he has been researching violence in schools for years and has surveyed teachers to gauge their interest in restoring SROs. He said at Iroquois High School, the vote was 74 to 4 in favor of SROs.

Beard said his research led him to go to the Jefferson County Board of Education in May and ask them to reinstate the resource officers.

“(The school board) has been talking about this and planning for this for two years now and here we are,” Beard said. “We’ve been so lucky and so fortunate that nothing really terrible has happened in our buildings.”

Beard said he’s worried Louisville’s dramatic spike in teen violence, coupled with two close calls in 24 hours, show the district is playing with fire.

“Heaven forbid something happen,” Beard said. “But it’s just a matter of time. (Shootings are) happening at bus stops. They’re right there at the front door of the school. It’s only a matter of time before it happens in a building.”

According to the JCPS Student Support and Behavior Intervention Handbook, “any student who is knowingly in possession of or who is involved in the transfer, storage, or use of a firearm or explosive device will be referred to an alternative school site for a period of one calendar year and not be allowed to return to their previously assigned school.”

WAVE 3 News asked JCPS if the district has transferred any of the students caught with guns on school campuses. The district has not replied.

The Jefferson County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office was also asked if it has prosecuted any students in the past three years who have been caught with guns on school campuses. A spokesperson told WAVE 3 News the office has only prosecuted one adult. That came in 2019, when Ayub Hussein, who was 19 at the time, was caught with a Glock 22 handgun at Iroquois High School and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon on school property.

That same spokesperson told WAVE 3 News any underage students who have been prosecuted during that same time would be under the jurisdiction of the Department of Juvenile Justice and could not be released by the Commonwealth Attorney’s office.

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