Dear JCPS,

I would like to address issues at Jeffersontown Elementary. The culture there is toxic and dysfunctional. The “adults” don’t trust each other or the administration, unless you are in the it club. The principal literally screams at parents who take questions to the board instead of asking her. Well, when you attempt to talk to the principal she NEVER looks up from her phone. She also sits out in the lobby/ main office area on Facebook or texting and ignoring parents who are coming into our building. Within the past 2 weeks we have lost our secretary and bookkeeper. I ask you with the front office completely leaving, the principal basically on her phone all day long and screaming at our parents. Why has the board not ask questions or investigated why the whole front office has had a turn over. Our attendance clerk also left over the summer due to drama.

I’m more concerned that the board is practically ignoring the fact that we’ve lost an attendance Clerk and secretary and a bookkeeper within the past 2 months. I’m also very concerned that their culture there is so toxic that the students notice that teachers don’t speak to each other and the teachers don’t trust each other. I cannot condone or survive in a toxic dysfunctional culture which is what J-Town Elementary has now become. Which is very sad considering what an amazing reputation it had in the past. We are losing students it’s due to the lack of professionalism of the main leadership in the building. I honestly believe that Dr. Hooper or any one from Central office would be appalled if they could see what the true Jtown has become not the dog and pony show they put on when the visits are scheduled. Dr.Hooper because it was his school.

I just want change. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Concerned J-Town Elementary Stakeholder

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

NOTE: While the author’s identity is protected here, they are not anonymous to Dear JCPS. Any board member wishing to address the concerns shared here can contact our administrators to make a connection.

Dear JCPS Board,

Please do not make any deals with Wayne Lewis. The people of Kentucky did not elect him for anything. It would be the worse thing that can happen if JCPS is turned over to the state. Fight it and let it go to court. It is wrong in every sense of the word what they are trying to do. Bevin is trying to destroy education in Kentucky for public schools and you must not let that happen. Fight for the people. Fight for the kids of Jefferson County. You fight now and the voters will fight in November.

Thank you,
Sherry Stewart

Dear JCPS,

I wanted to check back in with you since it has been quite some time.  I think you now see why I have been reluctant to divulge my name up until now.  Here we are months later and Principal Mayes still sits at his desk at Manual running the show.  It infuriates me every day that he has remained in this job, not on administrative leave, while this investigation takes place.

Manual parents, students and staff STILL REMAIN IN THE DARK about this supposed investigation into Mayes’ completely inappropriate behavior and conduct.  No one from the district has ever reached out to us to give us any sense of what is going on.  When you call the superintendent’s office no one will answer your questions and they give you the brush off. Everything is just as I expected — the district is silent just waiting this situation out and brushing everything under the rug.  The posts to dear JCPS have ceased because we all know that the countless incidents of his vile behavior reported so far by students, alumni, staff and parents have not truly been paid attention to.  Those of us brave enough to speak out (on behalf of countless others too fearful to do so) are disappointed and feel defeated that the district has not taken our concerns seriously.  If they really cared for the students at Manual, they would have put Mayes on leave months ago.  This wasn’t one allegation, it was countless ones.  Alumni speak about his abuses going back years and years.  How the district didn’t outright fire him over all of this is truly shocking, but the fact that he remains in charge at Manual is unconscionable.

Concerned Manual Parent

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form

Dear JCPS,

– Sadly, today I found out that the investigator cannot grant anonymity to current parents who want to speak out. All names will be in the official record for Mayes to see. So, with that requirement I can’t imagine any current parents willing to share their stories, and that is a real shame. With the fear that Mayes could remain in the position, at this point I don’t feel comfortable with my name being available to him and his ability to retaliate against my child and me. The abuse continues, but no one feels safe to tell their story. Also, I have a younger child who really wants to attend YPAS, so there is no way he would get in if Mayes ever found out that I complained about him.

– I was glad to see a new post on today, especially from a member of the community who read the C-J article. I feel like that is perhaps now the only way for the district to feel pressured to let him go, if the community at large causes an uproar (and/or if more alums continue to come forward with more stories). It is an absolute shame that we current parents can’t safely share our stories and must rely on others outside of the school to do that work for us. If you feel comfortable in doing so, please let Mr. Albrecht know that a current parent is very thankful for his willingness to speak out by name, because those of us inside the walls cannot for fear of retaliation. If he knows of other upset community members, I hope they are willing to speak out as well. Perhaps the district will do something about the situation if the community is outraged by a principal who has treated former students this badly and should not keep his job.

I do plan to leave an anonymous message with the Superintendent’s office that I am very upset that the investigation will not allow confidentiality to current parents. I will say again that this is a way for them to as much ensure that no new allegations will come to the forefront and they can disregard what alums have to say. What a sad state of affairs for JCPS and the kids in the system. I can’t wait until all of my kids are older and graduated to be out from under it. The system is not supportive of students.


Concerned Parent


The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

Dear JCPS,

I am deeply troubled by Sunday’s article concerning Principal Mayes at Manual HS and his interactions with minority students. His comments reported by these former students because of fear of retaliation should be taken very seriously by the board and executives of JCPS. Anyone who makes these comments does not belong in a position of authority in an educational setting. I have a granddaughter who hopes to attend Manual and this is troubling for her future.

Ken Albrecht


The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

The following open letter was sent to Dear JCPS by a member of the community who does not have students at Manual. Some of the statements in this letter are inaccurate, such as calling the recording “illegal.” In the spirit of transparency, we wanted to share this letter with our followers so that all sides can feel they are being heard. Please feel free to add your comments below or submit your own open letter.


Dear Ms. Porter,

I want to comment on Jerry Mayes illegal taped meeting with some of his students. Since when do the students go to someone the don’t trust to talk about a concern? I do not have any children in school, but feel like this was a set up. Jerry Mayes is been called the Man behind the Miracle. This school is unique and he is the perfect fit. He has (2) adopted black daughters, so being a bigot is just not true. This is not at all about him being a racist. It’s about kids trying to get power of the best PUBLIC SCHOOL in the state. I beg you to NOT let that happen.

Thank you for listening to my opinion.

Vicki Ziegler


The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

The following statement, which was released to Manual’s PTSA Facebook group, is being published on Dear JCPS with permission from the author.

Yesterday I learned that two local news stations ran stories suggesting that, as the sponsor of the BSU, I may have conspired with another teacher at Manual to entrap the principal into making inappropriate racial remarks to students.

This is not true. I did not tell or suggest that any student record the principal, nor did any student inform me of a plan to do so. Other students and parents involved in the situation have confirmed this.

Although I would like to give a more detailed account of this experience and others involving the principal, several people have advised me to reserve the information for the ongoing JCPS investigation into the allegations against him. I remain focused on the larger question of resolving this conflict at Manual High School in a way that protects and honors our students, their safety, and their concerns.

Jamie Miller
Manual Teacher/BSU Sponsor

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a similar concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

Dear JCPS,

I am writing in regards to a situation which occurred over the summer and still isn’t resolved at Norton Elementary School. I am sure we all remember the hasty firing of Principal Ken Stites this past May. The district blamed it on him living out of district and sending his kids to JCPS schools, when in fact, they knew about it all along. Next, they tried to accuse the rash decision on complaints made by Renae Mullins-May, former Goal Clarity Coach at Norton Elementary; however, when the truth is to be told, both reasons have been dismissed and the district has since realized they don’t have a leg to stand on.

The changing of admiration, Donna Hargens leaving and Marty Pollio taking over has left the Norton Community in limbo when selecting a new principal. Here is my question to the district, Marty Polio, and anyone else who can answer it…. If after further investigations Mr. Stites was found to have been fired under wrongful information, then why isn’t he back at his school as principal? Yes, he has a job in the district, a desk job in transportation, where a very good leader is sitting not doing what he was born to do. Why? Can anyone answer this for me?

As a parent and Stakeholder in JCPS and Norton Elementary, I just don’t understand why he is good enough to have a job in JCPS but not good enough to go back to his school. Mr. Stites has spent 12 years as Principal at Norton Elementary, long days and nights at the school working on projects, helping teachings, completing reports or paperwork, or sitting in meetings to learn how to make his school even more success. He has led his teachers and staff members to 3 consecutive years as a School of Distinction and recently received a National Blue Ribbon Award from the United States Department of Education. So why wouldn’t the district want him back at Norton to continue the success??? Maybe it’s because they don’t want to admit they were wrong when they fired him. It was blasted on every news channel when he was fired and nothing when they hired him back. JCPS hasn’t even acknowledge the award for Norton, the Students, and Staff. They had a small blur on the website for 3 days but the Staff member from Lincoln who was in a commercial as a pirate was up for several weeks. How is any of this what is best for our district, schools, staff members, and students?

Do what is right, not what you need for your ego!

Concerned Parent


The views expressed here are those of the author and were submitted to Dear JCPS using our open letter form. If you have a concern you would like to share openly with the JCPS School Board, administration and community, you are encouraged to submit a letter.

The following letter was sent to Dear JCPS by a former Manual student. We are publishing it with permission from the author, amid what appears to be emerging as a systemic and pervasive pattern of discrimination that has been allowed to fester in a number of our schools under the previous administration. By sharing this student’s testimony with our followers, our hope is that this type of behavior can be eliminated from our schools once and for all, so no other students or staff will be subjected to similar treatment. Dear JCPS encourages JCPS to take swift action and send a clear message that discrimination, in any form, will not be tolerated.


Dear JCPS,

As someone who faced Mayes’ discrimination first hand, I’m glad that there is finally attention being paid to what’s been happening at Manual since he started there.

During my sophomore year at Manual, I was called down to his office concern a story that I was quoted in about a trans student. During this conversation, he attempt to assert that the reason he didn’t want this story published in the yearbook was because he didn’t want the student to face bullying from peers.

It was at this point in the conversation he looked to me, the only black student in the room, and stated that he was made fun of for black friends while in high school. Followed by “If wigger was a word when I was growing up, I would have been a wigger.”

He, to my face, used a word that combines a racial slur with white. As a young student at the school interacting with the new principal for the first time I was scared to react. I went back to classes thoroughly disturbed by what had transpired and feeling trapped.

Throughout the rest of time at Manual, he continue to suppress students speaking out. He continued his reign of bigotry across the Manual population. He tried to keep the BSU from forming and later during my time at Manual tried to change a story that chronicled the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. His bigotry didn’t stop with racism, but extended to the LGBTQ+ and disabled populations of the school. He has went unchecked for five years now. I hope this marks a change in that. It’s time that he is held accountable for the amount of damage he has caused.

Breya Jones
2016 duPont Manual Graduate

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has had a similar experience with leadership in a JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

Dear JCPS,

I am a duPont Manual High School parent who has had several situations within the past two years  in which I felt that  Mr. Mayes has been racially insensitive, intimidating, very inappropriate, and offensive with his comments.  Upon hearing the recent audio recording between Mr. Mayes and two students who were a part of the Black Student Union at Manual in its entirety, I was appalled, disgusted, and saddened; However, I was not surprised, based on my past encounters and conversations with Mr. Mayes.  I took my concerns as a parent to Mr. Brad Weston, the assistant superintendent for Manual, Mr. Mayes’ immediate supervisor. Detailed below are some concerns I spoke with Mr. Weston about regarding the audio recording of Mr. Mayes and my past experiences with Mr. Mayes pertaining to my children at Manual.

While talking to the two courageous students about issues of diversity within the school and statements made by the football coach, Mr. Mayes said that the office of Diversity, Equity, and Poverty were inefficient/ineffective and screwed up.  He specifically mentioned Dr. John Marshall who happens to be the only African American assistant superintendent in the district. Mr. Mayes went on to say that everything that Dr. John Marshall’s office does is crap and their scheduled events are useless. Mr. Mayes also mentioned to the students that he made the mistake of saying negative comments about Dr. John Marshall before, and those comments got back to Dr. John Marshall.  Mr. Mayes told the students that he had to go Dr. John Marshall to apologize man to man.

These statements by Mr. Mayes were first of all professionally inappropriate.  For a principal to bash an assistant superintendent to other students without being prompted or even asked about the office of Diversity, Equity, and Poverty speaks volumes in my opinion. It speaks directly to Mr. Mayes  disregard of the district’s hierarchy. [Additionally, Mr. Mayes bashing the director of the office of Diversity, Equity, and Poverty to these two students who have concerns regarding diversity within the school and students being denied their 1st amendment rights by being told they had to go to the “field house” and kneel, if they wanted to kneel during the pledge is wrong.]  The office of Diversity, Equity, and Poverty is the very office that students should seek out when and if they feel that they are being treated unfairly and inequitably.  How are these students or any other students supposed to feel confident in speaking with the office of Diversity, Equity, and Poverty when their principal just told them how “inefficient’, ‘screwed up’, and ‘crap’ it is?  This, in my opinion, directly discourages these student from speaking to Dr. Marshall and his office.  Being badmouthed and torn down by another administrator to students puts the office of Diversity, Equity, and Poverty and Dr. John Marshall at a huge disadvantage, in terms of being an advocate for students who seek them out for help.

While speaking with the two students, Mr. Mayes also insinuated that they and some of their peers were only kneeling during the pledge or speaking out because it was the “cool thing to do.”  This statements by Mr. Mayes suggest that the students are not sincere in their expectation of their 1st Amendment Rights or in their support of their fellow students.  These students brought this issue to Mr. Mayes because it was a concern of theirs and their peers on the football team who were scared to speak out in fear of losing playing time.  Mr. Mayes said he doesn’t like it when people “jump on the band wagon”, and he does not really know what they are “protesting” for. [How likely is it that these students will ever bring another issue dealing with race, social issues, or violation of rights to Mr. Mayes or any administrator when this is the response they receive?]  Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that these two students will tell about Mr. Mayes’ defensive, inappropriate, and completely unprofessional attitude during their conversation.

As a part of their concerns, the two students talked about how racial discrimination, profiling, and unjust treatment of African Americans is very prevalent in today’s society.  Mr. Mayes quickly and very defensively began to talk about how he and other groups were also discriminated against and mistreated.  Mr. Mayes told the students it’s not all black and white.  He went on to imply that the religious discrimination of Protestants, Native Americans, and himself were equal or worse.  Mr. Mayes stated that he was 1/16 or 1/32 Native American and “his people” were kicked off their land and sent to reservations.  Mr. Mayes went on to tell the students that he has been passed over for various jobs four times because African Americans applied for the job.  These statements made by Mr. Mayes are appalling for several reasons.  Mr. Mayes took their concerns and immediately minimized them by comparing them to other groups that were discriminated against or treated unfairly many years ago.  [Mr. Mayes bluntly disagreed and became defensive with the students views that the unfair and unjust treatment of African Americans was very high in our current society.]

I feel very strongly that Mr. Mayes, turned this conversation about the students concerns into a conversation about himself and how he has been discriminated against.  Mr. Mayes mentioned an open door policy for students several times during this recorded conversation. However, when he questions students motives or sincerity, and then compares his being discriminated against to theirs, how are his actions supposed to make kids feel welcome or even comfortable talking with him about any issues they may have?  In my opinion, Mr. Mayes’ actions and statements made during this conversation will strongly discourage these students from wanting to bring any issues regarding equity, discrimination, or equality to him or any members of his administration.

I met with Mr. Weston multiple times earlier this year and voiced my concerns about how my daughter was targeted via grades, mistreated, and bullied by her teacher.  I explained, that I thought Mr. Mayes mishandled the situation, and did not act in a way that clearly demonstrated that he would protect my daughter’s best interest and advocate for her.  [Mr. Mayes’ lack of firm intolerance of mistreatment of  my daughter by her teacher created an atmosphere that condoned her teacher’s behavior.]  I voiced to Mr. Mayes directly that I thought race most definitely played a part in the mistreatment of my daughter and her feelings that she was underrepresented in her classes at Manual. I expressed to both Mr. Weston and Mr. Mayes that my daughter’s experience with Mr. Mayes and her teacher has literally changed her.  She is no longer the confident young lady that she once was.  My daughter’s anxiety level regarding school has increased tremendously.  My daughter also felt intimidated by Mr. Mayes during this time, as he “dropped in” her choir class a day after I voiced a concern regarding her teacher and Mr. Mayes’ handling of the situation, and stared her down for several minutes and then just left the class without a word.  Mr. Mayes lack of empathy and understanding mirrors his actions with the two students in this recorded audio.  These recent statements by Mr. Mayes about racism, discrimination, and Dr. Marshall’s office confirm my belief that Mr. Mayes is very culturally insensitive, dismissive, unprofessional, and inappropriate.

In a meeting earlier this year with both Mr. Weston and Mr. Mayes, Mr. Mayes also tried to justify his use of the terms “n***r lover,” and “Indian giver,” on several different occasions,  asking if I knew the context in which he used these terms.  Mr. Mayes failed to see my point, that there is no context that makes it OK for him to use these terms at all. In this same meeting, Mr. Mayes also apologized to me for making inappropriate comments referring to my wife.  During a phone conversation regarding my daughter, prior to this meeting, Mr. Mayes referred to my wife as,  “this beautiful attractive woman standing before me.”  Like any husband would be, I was offended and angered by his comments.  My questions to Mr. Weston then were, how is any of this OK?  What can we do about it?  After hearing this audio, I can’t help but think that we are in the same situation again: Mr. Mayes being inappropriate and racially insensitive.  It has become obvious to me that this is a pattern of Mr. Mayes again using racist, insensitive, unprofessional, and inappropriate comments to adults as well as children.

Lastly, my biggest concern with this audio recording and my personal experiences with Mr. Mayes is, if he is making these comments in front of and to students, what is he saying to his teachers and staff that work for him?  It is clear to me, why the current cultural climate at DuPont Manual is toxic, and at an all-time high.  In my opinion, it is a direct reflection of its leader’s views and opinions that he has no problem sharing with anyone who will listen.  I find it very disturbing that this is the person we have running the top school in the state of Kentucky.  I asked Mr. Weston what his plans were, in terms of addressing this most recent issue of  Mr. Mayes being Mr. Mayes.  Mr. Weston’s response to me was, there is currently an official, independent investigation in place, and that my email would be added to this investigation.

I know that recently Mr. Mayes has openly apologized to one of the students who was present during this audio and made an attempt to apologize to the student body, who were present at last weeks meeting. But what about the students who have been directly affected by Mr. Mayes’ cultural insensitivity, intimidating, and vindictive ways?   More specifically, what about those students who were affected by not just his words said, but his actions actually taken upon them?  He may have manipulated some, but he will not manipulate me, for I have seen the real Mr. Mayes, and so has my child.  During the process of change, there are setbacks.  What if that setback is at the expense of another child?

A Very Concerned Dad

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has had a similar experience with leadership in a JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.