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09-01-07, 09:24 AM #1
Superintendent mulls fate of E. J. Gay Elementary School after melee
Plaquemine Post South
Superintendent P. Edward Cancienne Jr. (new guy just hired this year) said Monday he is considering a total reconfiguration of E. J. Gay School as a remedy for "ganglike" confrontations from competing factions.
"That is pretty radical. I've got to do something. I can't have this," the new superintendent said after 18 students were arrested at the elementary and junior high school last Thursday and Friday. (15 at one time at the junior high school)
After considering the problem over the weekend, Dr. Cancienne said he might recommend closing the school as it is currently configured starting with the next year, and sending fifth and sixth graders to Iberville Elementary School and seventh and eighth graders to Plaquemine High School, where they could take advantage of programs that are working well there.
"We can do more for these children," the superintendent said . "Right now we have them boxed in an environment that hasn't worked well there."
E. J. Gay already is scheduled to be the site of a magnet school program for seventh, eighth and ninth graders. Freeing the building for the purpose could jumpstart the academy program "for those kids who want to work hard," Cancienne said. He and his staff also are looking to enlarge the early childhood education program.
Meanwhile, Supervisor Billy Bujol (usless as tits on a bull), who handles disciplinary problems for the school system, was preparing to hold expulsion hearings for the 18 students arrested in E. J. Gay campus incidents last week.
Fifteen students - twelve boys and three girls ages 14 to 16 -- were arrested after a fight erupted on the school grounds after a "mugging" incident, (yes, the actual reason the fight happened) Sheriff Brent Allain said.
"Mugging" is when one teen stares at another, provoking a challenging response and possibly a fight, officials said.
Juvenile Detective Ronnie Hebert of the Iberville Sheriff's Office said the 15 were charged with disturbing the peace by fighting, inciting to riot and street gang activity.
Emergency medical technologists from Acadian Ambulance checked out all the children involved in the fight and concluded that none was hurt, Hebert said. Later, a mother claimed her child had suffered a broken jaw, he said.
Sheriff's officials continued to say that the groups of local youth have "turf wars," but do not fit law enforcement's definition of gangs.
"These are little kids from one neighborhood fighting little kids from another neighborhood," said Chief Criminal Deputy Stephen Engolio, while a real gang would have leaders, middle management and a criminal enterprise that provided an income to the gangs.
"This has been going on for years and years and years," Allain said, noting the fighting among young people from the various neighborhoods in the Plaquemine area - Turnerville in North Plaquemine, the "back of town" area, Seymourville.
"In this one square mile of Plaquemine, Louisiana, we have five or six gangs," Dr. Cancienne said. "...What upsets me is that these kids go home at night and pressure is put on them that if they don't participate in fighting and standing up for their gang. That kind of stuff has got to stop." (sounds like we might finally have someone who knows what they are talking about)
All 15 arrested last Thursday are scheduled to appear in 18th Judicial District Court on September 14, Hebert said. Five of them, two girls and a boy, who had previous offenses or who were aggressors in the fight, were sent to the juvenile detention center in St. Gabriel, he said; the rest were released to their parents.
Fighting on campus also violates the school system's zero tolerance policy, which provides for children caught fighting to be arrested and expelled. Cancienne, who took over as superintendent in June, said he is strict about the policy.
Three others children were arrested Friday on disturbing the peace charges, Hebert said.
"They did not get a chance to fight," the detective said. "Deputies responded quick and were able to stop it before it could become a fight."
Allain said he and school officials have agreed to jointly pay the salary of a second "resource officer" for the Plaquemine area. Currently one security officer divides his time between Plaquemine High School and E. J. Gay, he said; now there will be one for each school.
Uniformed deputies traditionally stop and patrol school grounds as part of their routine, the sheriff said.
Bujol said he has scheduled expulsion hearings for all 18 students today (Thursday) and Friday. After the hearings, he will make recommendations for their placement to the superintendent.
Early in the school year, space is available at the Optional Education Center, a facility built to handle troubled students, Bujol said.
"It's really sad this stuff is happening," Bujol said. Iberville is not alone in having the problem, he said, noting 25 arrested Monday at a Thibodaux campus.
"We need parents to get back to being parents," he said. "Kids need to know they're going to school to get an education -- not to fight and not to disrespect teachers and administrators. When we all get on the same page, I think we're going to start seeing improvements."
Bujol said the school system already has a number of programs that teach respect and handling conflict without violence, such as peer mediation, conflict resolution, the 4-H "Character Counts" program and the regular safe and drug-free schools curriculum for sixth, seventh and eighth graders.
As it happened, the supervisor said, when the fight broke out at E. J. Gay last Thursday, school officials were meeting with Terry Simmons of the Career Builders program that has gotten outstanding reviews in two Baton Rouge schools.
"We're going to continue to work with him to get this program going and try to help these kids and turn this around," Bujol said. "He counsels with them [and] tries to teach them some skills that they can use in schools and when they go to work. He was in the middle of his presentation when the fight broke out."
Cancienne said he wants the new character-building program put in first at E. J. Gay "because that's where the biggest issue is."Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
09-01-07, 10:00 AM #2
These problems are not exclusive to Plaquemine, Lewis.
There were several arrests made in Lafayette on the first day of school for fighting.
After sixteen years of teaching D.A.R.E., I watched the level of respect for adults drop like a sack of rocks. The manners of these kids (not all of course, but a large percentage) has gone from great when I started teaching, to almost non-existant when the Sheriff dropped D.A.R.E. a couple of years ago.
I told my Chief Deputy not too long ago, that even if the Sheriff were to revive D.A.R.E. (not likely), I wouldn't want to go back into the school environment. I loved teaching, but sixteen years of having to raise other people's kids is enough.
I also have Advanced SRO certification, but I'm not even interested in doing that either. I'm getting too old and my patience is too short to have to put up with disrespectful little thugs.
I do have to say though, that teaching in parochial schools was much better than in the public school system. I did both, and I would take the parochial over the public any day.
My hat is off to those who do it on a daily basis. And that includes the teachers who tolerate the disrespect, the mis-behaving, and the lack of good manners on the part of a lot of the kids in school these days.
.The Swamp Mafia -"Heaven doesn't want us,and Hell's afraid we'll take over!!".
09-01-07, 10:57 AM #3
09-01-07, 11:49 AM #4
Yeah. They say I was in the video footage but I didn't see. If I was I would have been the shortest person.
No really, the shortest one.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
09-01-07, 01:11 PM #5
09-01-07, 02:38 PM #6Banned
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Wow! And I thought I went to a bad-ass jr. high in Harlingen, TX cause we had two kids killed in the first semester.
09-01-07, 02:49 PM #7
Is it just me, or did a lot of this kind of snowball when corporeal punishment was taken out of schools? The Vice Principal had a paddle and he wasn't afraid to use it, even if the parents were too lenient.\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
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