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Clinical counselor weighs in on guns brought to schools

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 4:33 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2021 at 6:28 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - After an Iroquois High School student was caught on cell phone video pulling what appears to be a gun on another student during dismissal Thursday, licensed clinical counselors said education needs to go beyond the books and focus on solving the root cause of the violence.

This is at least the 11th weapon found on JCPS campus, the second incident in one week, and the third gun at Iroquois High since August.

Jerron Jones is a licensed professional clinical counselor who mentors JCPS youth and works in the schools. He feels “heartbroken” when he sees situations involving guns unfold in school and but knows there are likely many more weapons that go unnoticed.

“I can guess and assume that probably over half of your students depending on where you teach probably have weapons in their backpack, and that’s a scary feeling,” Jones said.

Jones told WAVE 3 News that educators need to focus on why students feel the need to bring guns to campus. Many of the students’ issues in life and the community are bleeding into the classrooms.

“Children are coming from school and leaving from school with so much trauma, and if they don’t have the ability to process it, they’ll never understand the importance of how to solve conflict resolution, and as a result we’ve seen gun violence as their weapon,” Jones said.

When JCPS students are caught with guns on campus, the district’s handbook says they will be referred to an alternative school and must stay there for a full year. However, it’s not clear if that has occurred for each of the 11 incidents involving a weapon in JCPS so far this year.

Jones said there needs to be a stronger punishment when students bring guns into school, as well as a program to help teach children how to better handle their issues in the future.

“When you’ve taken away what I would call a rehabilitation opportunity with (Jefferson County Youth Detention Center,) these kids have nowhere to go but back home, or if they’re suspended, they’re still at home playing video games, and there’s no rehab process to transition back into the academic environment,” Jones said.

“School is a safe haven, but when you think about accountability for bringing guns to school, I think that’s the missing component,” he added. “What’s this student learning once they get caught with this gun? What are the chances of them bringing a gun again next month or next semester? It probably will happen.”

According to JCPS, the student at Iroquois High was disciplined according to district policy and law enforcement is investigating.

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