Bill Bennett, Candidate for House District

So, Bill is a former JCPS teacher who was hired by the district after some sloppy background work. Apparently, he and a student got into an altercation in the hall one day at Moore High School over a mask. For whatever reason, instead of using appropriate means to correct and/or redirect the student, he decided assaulting him, pinning him and at one point pulling his hair was the best way to teach this young Black lad some respect for authority. I blogged about it back when it happened, and we later learned the teacher was fired after a thorough investigation.

I also wrote this as part of a bigger frustration we have with JCPS for allowing situations like these to percolate unaddressed and covering them up when they explode. They represent a pattern or practice that is part of a systemic problem.

The Jefferson County Public Schools discharged Bennett, a former Elizabethtown city councilman, and issued a 330-page report in January based on findings of its investigation of the Aug. 23 altercation at the high school. The letter from the prosecutor’s staff was written less than three weeks later.

“My attorneys and I are not surprised with the final decision that the Jefferson County Attorney’s office has made as we have seen the full three-minute school video, and read the witness statements — there is no other conclusion you could come to unless you have a political agenda,” Bennett said.

The News-Enterprise, Elizabethtown, KY (April 19, 2022)

But just last week, Bennett was found innocent after Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell, who is accused of being a threat and a predator to Louisville by Chris Thieneman and others, wrote a letter stating Bennett acted in self defense. Apparently the letter carried more weight than the 330-page report that came as a result of a thorough investigation by the district. While one of our complaints is that we don’t think the district does thorough enough investigations when it comes into racial discrimination and who to hold accountable, and in fact, bad teachers often get to keep their jobs because of “lack of evidence” and the cowardice with which the district acts when it fears their decision to terminate an employee could be overturned. In fact, people outside of urban centers like Louisville often have unaddressed racial bias and don’t recognize that a school should be safe from altercations and punitive responses like these, and students deserve trained professionals who treat them with respect and not like criminals. This is one of the reasons why we spoke in favor of change to the state’s tribunal process a few years ago. So, if they finally man up and terminate an employee for assaulting a Black student, I feel more confident than I do about most things the district does, that they had what they believed to be irrefutable evidence that he deserved it.

Expect him to sue to get his job back and because he’s a known threat to Black and brown students, if he wins, he’ll wind up in the same department they put all the other teachers they can’t fire. Great job, Mr. O’Connell. Just add more scrap to the heap. And for what reason, unless, as Mr. Bennett projects, “it’s political”?

It would be a real shame if this person who is a threat to our students were not only to work as a teacher again, but if he were elected to the Kentucky House. He has two primary challengers. Do your research carefully. One of the challengers has the same last name as another dangerous House Republican. We don’t need any more relatives taking up more seats and creating even less diverse thought and representation than we already have. If you live in Etown and would like some support raising awareness of this immediate danger, please contact us at #AnyoneButBennett