It took investigation into security camera footage to prove that indeed, a Louisville, KY school officer was terrorizing and assaulting children. Unfortunately, it also took two different incidents before the situation was taken seriously.
This is worrying on many levels. The school resource officer at Olmsted Academy North Middle School was 31-year-old Jonathan Hardin, of the LMPD. He was not removed from the position after the first assault – another soon followed.
In January he pushed and punched a 13-year-old in the face, knocking the kid to the floor, whom he believed had cut in line in the cafeteria. He charged the student for menacing and resisting arrest (!) and acted on it under lies. The middle-schooler then had to be treated at Kosair Hospital.
He placed another student in a chokehold, cutting off blood flow to the brain and inducing unconsciousness – just a few days after the first incident.
But, instead of calling for medical help for the unconscious kid, Hardin placed him in handcuffs for the rest of the day. This resulted in brain injury. Other students witnessed more abuses involving physical contact.
While the officer was fired from the school post and was arrested for a few charges, it cannot be comforting to think it took two potentially deadly situations before acting on behalf of children in school. Hopefully parents will demand what should have already been taken for granted – that a person like this would never make it to that role to start. However, that possibility looks bleak….
Most faculty and staff in a public school are required to submit fingerprints, a background check, and often a drug test. Why is it that the very person in the school system expected to use deadly force if necessary does not undergo the same rigorous standards? Instead, kids are left in the midst of a ticking time-bomb. The menacing presence there is to remind them they carry no rights, dignity or privacy. There’s zero tolerance for every sort of acting-up including humor, friendliness or excess energy.
There should be zero tolerance for any such behavior not only from staff but especially an officer placed in a middle school. It appears the school system did not act quickly in the case and surely passed the buck. Although they made complaints to the LMPD supervisor and showed video footage, the officer was left to commit more violence. Before any of this took place, Hardin had already accumulated complaints with one dismissed. Is this where that line is – the line that cannot be crossed is stretched pretty far to allow child endangerment and brain damage before intervening.
It is absolutely chilling a public school would ever take the department at its word and place a maniac in a watch-post over children. The school has replaced the school officer, hopefully not from LMPD, which has a horrendous track record with brutality and indiscriminate shooting.
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