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JP schools OK settlements in cases of BB guns seen in virtual classrooms

State lawmakers even passed the Ka’Mauri Harrison Act, named after Harrison.

JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — After months of legal battles and widespread attention, The Jefferson Parish School Board approves settlements stemming from two federal lawsuits. Those lawsuits centered around whether campus policies on weapons extend into a student’s home during virtual learning.   

It took less than 20 minutes Wednesday night for the board to approve these settlements, effectively ending the legal battles between two families and the Jefferson Parish School District.  

In the Ka’Mauri Harrison case, the settlement is $92,500 and in the Tomie Brown case, the settlement is $72,500. Both students will have their suspensions reduced to disruptive conduct, removing any mention of weapons.  

This all started back in September when Harrison, a then 4th grader from Harvey and Brown, a then 6th grader from Grand Isle were suspended and recommended for expulsion when BB Guns were seen on camera inside their homes during virtual learning. That lead to lawsuits being filed, heated debate during hearings both at the school district and at the state capitol.  

State lawmakers even passed the Ka’Mauri Harrison Act, named after Harrison. That law now requires school districts to have policies in place for virtual learning, which was not in place during 2020. School board members say they’re glad this is behind them and ready to focus on education.  

“I think it’s time to move on. I think it’s time for us to get back into the business of educating children. We’ve done a great job getting through this pandemic,” said District Seven board member Billy North.  “We’ve done so many great things and it’s time for us to move forward and put those things back into place in a regular kind of year, so our people deserve to get back to the business of educating kids and I’m very excited about us starting this new school year.”   

Here’s how the board voted.  

In the Harrison settlement:  

  • Ricky Johnson – yes 
  • Billy North – yes 
  • Chad Nugent – no 
  • Gerald LeBlanc – yes 
  • Tiffany Higgins-Kuhn – yes 
  • Sandy Denapolis-Bosarge – yes 
  • Larry Dale – no 
  • Clay Moise – yes 
  • Simeon Dickerson - yes 

In the Brown settlement:  

  • Ricky Johnson – yes 
  • Billy North – yes 
  • Chad Nugent – no 
  • Gerald LeBlanc – yes 
  • Tiffany Higgins-Kuhn – yes 
  • Sandy Denapolis-Bosarge – yes 
  • Larry Dale – no 
  • Clay Moise – yes 
  • Simeon Dickerson - yes 

Once the settlements were approved, the Jefferson Parish School Board and the two families released this joint statement:  

“The Jefferson Parish School Board and the Harrison-Williams and Brown families have mutually resolved the claims in the two federal court cases. COVID-19 and the onset of virtual learning presented school districts and students, parents and teachers across this State, including ours in Jefferson Parish, with a unique set of circumstances and challenges. The Jefferson Parish School Board and the families truly appreciate having the opportunity to work together on the important practical and legal issues that were raised and ultimately resolved. The members of the School Board will continue to listen and respond to the concerns of the citizens in this community going forward. Likewise, the Harrison-Williams and Brown families look forward to continuing to strengthen their relationships with the School Board, teachers, and administrators. The School Board and Harrison-Williams and Brown families are pleased that they were able to reach a resolution and can now refocus on the education of Jefferson Parish students in an orderly, safe, and welcoming environment in both virtual and non-virtual classroom settings.”