Lafayette

Mar 23, 2013 6:10 PM by katc

Carencro High Principal Responds to Eliminating Student Teacher's Position

Carencro High School's principal is revealing the real reason he says he asked a student-teacher to leave. As you recall, the student teacher, Derrick Comeaux, spoke at the Lafayette Parish School Board meeting Thursday, on the discipline problems at Carencro High. Today, the principal, Ken Roebuck, sent a letter to Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper and Assistant Superintendent Sandra Billeaudeau on why he chose to remove Comeaux from his student-teaching position at Carencro High. Here's the letter:

Ms. Billeaudeau and Dr. Cooper,
I would like to say that I am emboldened by your leadership. It is comforting to know that when
you do the right thing for your school and your students that the people who run our school system recognize and support what's right.

I will always support the students, faculty and staff of Carencro High School. I think that it is important that they know this so I would like you to be aware of the reasons that I took the actions I did with a student teacher at our school on Thursday, March 21, 2013. I realize that Mr. Tehmi Chaisson and Mr. Mark Babineaux, two of our school board members have chosen to go on television and question my decision. Neither of these gentlemen have ever spoken to me about the situation. While I realize a young man with "over 300 hours" in the classroom has vast more knowledge about education and running a school than a veteran with 25 years of dealing with young people, I believe there is something wrong with that scenario.

As far as Mr. Comeaux's assertion that I am trying to intimidate, and silence his ability to speak out, that is the farthest thing from the truth. I believe that what Mrs. Breaux said in her letter was true. We need to examine how we are caring for our students and the policies we have in place to do so. We need to support our teachers in the classroom with everything we have at our disposal!

I respect her opinion after 25 years striving to help our children learn and I know you do as well.

Mr. Comeaux had every right to give his opinion as to the conditions in the classroom and it has NOTHING to do with why he was asked not to return to our campus.

During his speech to the board, Mr. Comeaux used profanities and while I know he was trying to
show the board the severity of what some teacher s experience, I feel he could have made his point in a more professional manner. He then went on to criticize the incredible job that my administrators and myself do everyday at our school for the students. He told the public that he did not feel safe at our school. He said that our administration ignores threats to our teachers. He said that our counselors disregard concerns for our teachers and students. While Mr. Comeaux has the right to his opinion, NOTHING could be further from the truth.

None of those things are the reason that I as the Principal of Carencro High School removed him from our campus. As I know you are aware, Louisiana Law RS 17:416 says that it is the duty and responsibility of the principal to do whatever is necessary to ensure the safety of every person on their campus. In Mr. Comeaux's speech to the public, he declared that it was his intention, "that if any student on my campus laid a hand on him, then he would have to take matters into his own hands". This is an implied threat as to his course of action. It is a matter of public record.

Whether or not he would actually do it is not pertinent. If I allowed him to stay and an incident occurred between he and a student, both myself and the school system would be liable for previous intent. That, with his statement that he did not feel safe on my campus, left we with but one choice to ensure both his and my students safety. That and that alone is the reason Mr. Comeaux was asked to leave.

Since then, I have been asked by several media outlets to make a statement. I have declined because I do not want Mr. Comeaux to have to suffer any further. Before I asked him to leave I consulted with his supervisor from the University and the College of Education and they supported my decision.

Further, It is my understanding that Mr. Babineaux is in possession of confidential material about one of my students. I do not know how he received a behavior plan that was written for a student on my campus, but this has severely compromised the counselor/student relationship. Since Mr. Babineaux, a lawyer, chose to reveal to the media a document that is protected by federal law to the media, I will have to investigate how he obtained this document. If he received it from anyone working at our school, I will have to follow protocol and if he received it from Mr. Comeaux, it is just another reason for his dismissal from our school. As a school board member and a lawyer, I'm sure Mr. Babineaux is aware of this discretion and the earlier point of law.

Finally, it has never been my intention to "retaliate or intimidate" anyone. It has always been my intention to protect the individuals on my campus to the best of my ability. I am truly disappointed that this incident occurred. I am disappointed that two board members felt they should appear in the media without first consulting with me at all. I will always represent the young people of my school, my school and the Carencro community with their safety in mind.

It is my wish that the school board would put as much effort into obtaining the tools that our teachers, students and administrators need to move our school into the 21st century as they do worrying about a Principal simply following the law. The people of Lafayette, the children of Lafayette deserve more.


As always, a servant of the student,
Ken Roebuck, Principal
Carencro High School

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