In November of 2019, the district conducted an investigation into allegations that SK, a white kindergarten teacher, had been using inappropriate terms and slurs to refer to the students in her care. Another white kindergarten teacher, who we will refer to as “FJ” was one of several individuals who were chosen for the interviews. Surprisingly, Dr. Johnson, who filed the complaint, as well as several other Black witnesses were not asked to participate.
Many months after the investigation was conducted, FJ received a threatening text message from SK, seemingly out of the blue. It read,
“I have been told by numerous individuals that you have been spreading a rumor that I do not like black kids [and] only white kids. That in my class and your class are only favored the white kids. That is totally untrue. That is a defamation of my character. I’ve been advised by some of our fellow employees at Maupin that if you continue to spread that amongst people that I need to have the board look into this matter. I have no idea why all of a sudden you are stooping to such a low level. Your concern needs to be for the students and not trying to stir up drama amongst teachers. As you know better than anyone when Dr. Johnson did the same stuff the board took action against. Thus, do not spread rumors about me concerning racism, teaching skills, etc. I have had this message reviewed by others. Have a good day.”
I was down at Injustice Square Park one sunny Sunday afternoon. It was a surreal day. The sun was shining and there was a joint press conference held between the Kentucky Alliance and Until Freedom. The large purple Breonna mural was the backdrop. Latasha Harrison, DeNita Wright and I had a call with Charles Booker later that afternoon, but he called me while I was standing near the shrine to ask if we could do it now, because his little cousin had just been killed and he needed to head out of town to be with family. “Of course,” I said, as I quickly called DeNita and Latasha to see if they could join the call. Right when all of this was happening, I was walking and talking and spun around to the other side of the memorial to try to get in front of the speakers who were still standing around after the press conference. Greg Tichenor was there and my phone rang as I got near him. It was Kimberly. I answered just as he also appeared to get a call. I hear him say “Kimberly” and I think to myself, “hey, that’s my call. How did you get it?” when I hear Kimberly on the other line saying, “we got them!” I ask, “what do you mean?” and she says. “there’s a text message. I’ll send it to you.” Just then, Greg hangs up from his call and he has a copy of the text message on his phone. Again, I’m thinking “how are you getting my texts?” It turns out he’s friends with another educator at Maupin who had been given a copy of the text message and who contacted Greg to find out about ways to get it to go viral. He invited her to speak at our next press conference, which was the following Sunday morning. In the mean time, she posted a copy of the message on a social media page, No Justice, No Peace, Louisville.
On August 8, 2020, I notified the internal investigation department of the text message above. I copied Dr. Pollio and had URGENT in the subject line.
I also requested a copy of the investigation report through open records.
On August 14, 2020, FJ read the investigation report for the first time and was appalled to learn how her testimony had been altered to sound like she had not said anything confirming the behaviors Ms. SK was accused of. I had been in contact with reporters with WFPL and KYCIR and I asked them if they would be interested in hearing from the teachers involved. Below is a recording of that conversation.
1-27-21 – FJ was a recent candidate for JCTA Board of Directors.