Accountability, Admin, Vision: 2020

Manual Graduate: “He Had Issues With Us”

The following email was sent to Dear JCPS. 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 former Manual 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,

I’m one of the many students coming forward about the issues being caused by Jerry Mayes, principal of the magnet school duPont Manual High School.

I tried to file a complaint with the HRC in May of 2016, with many allegations against Jerry Mayes. You see, I was president of the school’s Gay Straight Transgender Alliance and it was very clear that he had issues with us. I’ll list the following things I feel he did wrong in order:

  • Repeatedly pushed Christian ideology in a public school environment
  • Kept certain clubs from handing out flyers/meeting information at student registration
  • Let Christian clubs reserve larger meeting spaces at the expense of other, more ‘liberal’ clubs
  • Tried to keep the Black Student Union from forming in 2014-15, using the slur ‘wigger’ to defend himself
  • Censored the yearbook as to not include ‘too much’ intersectionality; wouldn’t let the cover of the 2016 yearbook be a gay couple holding hands
  • Pulled me out of class REGULARLY to discuss things with me that were either a distraction or not time sensitive
  • Asked me to keep a domestic abuse/student being outed and abused at home situation quiet from EVERYONE, including other teachers/my club sponsor/my parents after asking me for advice on the matter
  • Regularly dropped hints that he would ‘out’ me as trans and queer to my father, who he saw in public
  • Monitored the meetings of the GSTA regularly, outed and undermined students during meetings, and threatened to shut us down
  • Asked transgender students in private without any other faculty support in the room about their genitalia and medical history

Seeing as most of these things happened within my senior year at duPont, I would not be surprised if they continued to happen. I think it’s of the utmost importance that Jerry Mayes be reviewed in his position at duPont Manual High School before more accounts like this happen. If more dates and specifics to events are needed, I’ll be more than happy to provide those along with any eyewitness accounts of what I witnessed during my time at duPont.

Thank you so much for your time,

Oberon Waters

The views expressed here are those of the author. Because a copy of this email was also sent to district leaders, its contents are a matter of public record, subject to discovery under the Kentucky open records act. We share it with our followers because transparency and accountability within our district remain our primary focus. 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.

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