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Pollio: Every day is ‘pretty darn difficult’ within JCPS

From guns in schools to the battle over SROs, the superintendent says this school year has been stressful
Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 7:52 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In two days, Jefferson County Police have seized two loaded guns from Jefferson County Public Schools students.

The gun recovered Thursday at Stuart Middle School was off a 12-year-old child. The Glock, sources said, had a 30-round magazine.

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There have been five guns recovered from students so far this year.

The first incident occurred on the first day of school when a student brought a weapon to Iroquois High School. Wave 3 News Troubleshooters confirmed through numerous sources that the assistant principal at the school gave the gun back to the student’s parent and sent them all home. The three of them were gone by the time police were notified two hours later.

The district would not comment on whether Iroquois’ assistant principal faced any discipline for handing the gun back.

JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said that he worries about the possibility of a school shooting every single day.

“Every day has been pretty darn difficult so far this year,” he told WAVE 3 News. “There’s no doubt about that.”

More than 90 JCPS students have been shot this year, and 27 of them have died. Pollio said the violence on the streets leaks into schools.

“Unfortunately, we can’t separate school from community,” Pollio said.

He added that illegal guns need to be removed from the streets.

“Or this will continue to happen in our schools,” he said.

Pollio would not answer whether he believes armed school resource officers should be put back in schools.

“That’s a conversation once again our board has to have,” he said. “That’s their decision.”

“But do you think there’s time for a conversation (about SROs)?” WAVE 3 News asked.

“Well, I think we’re going to have to because I think you saw the absolute disagreement or difference at our board meeting on Tuesday night,” Pollio said, referring to a group of people who showed up to the school board meeting protesting SROs.

A shouting match ensued during the meeting, and it ended for security reasons, according to JCPS.

“We need to look at ways that we can address safety in a way that makes student and staff feel safe, but also not contributing to the school to the school to prison pipeline,” Pollio said

He added that he is aware that Kentucky lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1, requiring an armed SRO in every school campus; JCPS, though, has not hired one.

Pollio believes those discussions will have an impact on what happens next.

“I’ll say this, I’ve been a principal at a school where we found a loaded gun, and that’s always difficult,” he said.

SROs were taken out of school with three votes from the school board members in August of 2019. The school has since created a security force of 21 people who go from school to school and are not armed.

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