Apr 24, 2013 7:08 PM by Tina Macias and Akeam Ashford

Rally leaves some students without teachers

A teacher rally in Baton Rouge caused a "fiasco" at Lafayette High School when 40 percent of teachers did not show up for work today, said superintendent Pat Cooper.

"I just think as much as they stand up at board meetings and say we need more face time with our students, we need to do this and that for our students, what we have here is a fiasco at Lafayette High," Cooper said.

Although yesterday Cooper said he supported all teachers attending the rally, today he changed his story, saying he expected teachers to select representatives so they "wouldn't put our schools in jeopardy."

"Well, I think what we're faced with today is really disappointing because one of the things that we know is teachers need to have a voice, but they have paid people in the (Louisiana Association of Educators) to go and do this for them," Cooper said.

Without enough substitutes to cover the 57 absent teachers, hundreds of students spent class time simply sitting in the gym.

Freshman Spencer Boudreaux said she spent most of her school day doing just that, until her aunt picked her up.

"I went to first hour and my teacher wasn't there, and all my other hours they weren't there," Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux's aunt was among dozens of parents and family members who lined up in the LHS lobby to pick up their children.

"I mean, if (teachers) are not going to be here, I don't see why she should be," parent Dwayne Zimmerman said.
Preparing for the rally, principal Patrick Leonard said he made substitute slots available on Monday, but enough subs did not sign up for the jobs.

"We had to move our end-of-course testing back, so yes it has affected the education arena," Leonard said.
Student checkouts at the school will be recognized as an excused absence, principal Pat Leonard said. A make-up day will be utilized because of the missed testing.

Some 175 Lafayette Parish teachers were absent from school today, by far the most in Acadiana. Iberia Parish was next with 19; Vermilion had 6; and Acadia had 2. St. Landry Parish did not have a count yet, and St. Martin Parish is on spring break.



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