The Lafayette Police Department reports a reduction of 18% in juvenile crime and arrests. From the standpoint of LPSS Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper, that's good news. “We have to think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we're not tossing these kids out on the streets,” says the superintendent.
The superintendent explained that a pipeline has been put into place to ensure kids stay in school. He says there's a Health and Wellness program, NP Moss Prep and then the AMI program; which is a final alternative before the juvenile detention center gets involved.
“I think its our responsibility in the public schools not to just take kids that conform. We have to figure out how to deal with those kids that don't conform, because our kids are coming to us with so many problems today” explains Dr. Cooper.
Corporal Paul Mouton believes there's some truth in the correlation of in-school suspension and the lower juvenile crime rate. He also believes the school resource program has been an effective tool as well. “They mentor a lot of the kids. We hope that is a factor as well in lowering the crime rate,” adds Mouton.
“Sometimes when we put them in a smaller environment with a few more adults who really have the time to make the effort to keep up with them and show those kids that they care; all the data in the world says that kid is probably going to make it, ” says Cooper.