State of the LPSS

In a two part series, KLFY's Doug MacDiarmid takes a look at what are some of the major issues facing the Lafayette Parish School System. One issue that has become a serious problem is how to restore discipline in schools.

Debbie Dugas is a parent who's fed up with being sent in circles trying to find out why her daughter was given a one day in school suspension for not taking the ACT.

“She got jerked out of class, threatened with out-of-school suspension and then she got in-school suspension for not taking the ACT,” said Dugas.

But that's not the crux of her frustration. What has Dugas at her wits end is why a similar punishment was not given to a group of students at Carencro High, who were talking aloud about sexually explicit topics in her daughter's class.

“”How does something so heinous go unpunished or barely punished. Because what we do know is those kids have not been removed from the classroom,” Dugas said.

And that's what school board member Mark Allen Babineaux is concerned with. He says it's more common now problem students returning to the classroom.

“Some of these I would consider to be somewhat dangerous situations where students were assaulting teachers, both verbally and physically,” Babineaux said.

Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper's preferred method has been to send students to a sort of rehabilitation, alternative school at the old N.P. Moss. But Babineaux says the students who should be sent here, are not.

“Ordinarily would be expelled or off campus suspension. What do you do with them? And from what I understand they would just end up back in the classroom,”

Cooper acknowledges there is a discipline problem as there is all over the nation, but he feels the kinks are being fixed and next year will be a lot smoother. “Stubbed our toe at the beginning of the school year. Moss Prep wasn't open so that caused a lot of stress on people, so we just never really righted the ship. I think we're there now.” Cooper said.

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