St. Landry

Oct 9, 2013 11:22 PM by Steven Albritton

"Concerned Citizens of Opelousas" Meet to Help Youth, Community

There's talk of change on the streets of Opelousas. It has to do with the city's young people and a recent riot at Opelousas High School.13 students were arrested after the riot and Wednesday a judge sentenced six of those students to one month in jail and two years on probation. They are also banned from making any contact with victims of the brawl.

Now, a group called "Concerned Citizens of Opelousas," say they're coming up with a plan to turn things around for the youth and the community. Their plan is to turn the statistics around. In the last twelve months there have been 446 juvenile arrests in Opelousas out of more than 2200 total arrests. They say, "enough is enough," and they held their first meeting Wednesday night to figure out how to attack growing problems in the city.

"We have a broken school system, we have broken families and we have broken churches. We have to get those three things together," group member Ricky Julien said.

Ministers, lawyers and even one principal showed up to voice their support and concern. They say the way things are going now are leaving many kids behind.

"You will be surprised at the kids that say, my mom is in jail, my daddy didn't come home last night. I had to dress my 4-year-old sister to come to school, that's heartbreaking," group member Annette Lewis said.

Right now, the goal is to get parents more involved and this group plans to hit the streets to get the word out.

"It's going to take maybe one or two visits, but in time they'll see a true commitment on our part and they will get involved," one man said.

The group plans to meet again Wednesday, October 16th at the Community Outreach Church at 6 p.m. to continue their outreach to the community and get children back on the right path.

No one from the St. Landry Parish School Board or Superintendent's office was at the meeting.

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