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Article criticizes success of Breaux Bridge school, TM Landry Prep responds

Posted at 5:47 PM, Nov 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-30 19:59:09-05

An article in The New York Times is taking aim at one school in Acadiana that has made headlines recently for their work in helping black students attend the country’s top colleges.

T.M. Landry College Preparatory School in Breaux Bridge has become known for their viral videos featuring their students being accepted into college. Those colleges are considered some of the nation’s top institutions.

The article claims that T.M. Landry and its founders, Michael and Tracey Landry, have falsified transcripts and student accomplishments to make students more appealing to Ivy League schools. In interviews with 46 current and former students and teachers, The New York Times says that students often underwent physical and emotional abuse.

The story broke this morning. As of 5:45 p.m., an attorney for T.M. Landry College Prep School have released the following statement:

As a result of the article published today by The New York Times and in the midst of running the daily operations of the school, Michael Landry and Tracey Landry, the owners of T.M. Landry College Prep Foundation (“T.M. Landry”), have received multiple inquiries into the substance of the article and have not responded to some.  As such, they are in the process of consulting with their attorneys and plan on providing a more substantive press release hopefully early next week.  They are steadfast in fulfilling their obligations to their current students and future students to continue to afford all children the opportunity to get the education that they deserve.  They appreciate the continued support and prayers of the communities they work so hard to serve.

-Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C.

The Clerk of Court’s Office in St. Martin Parish confirmed with KATC that Michael Landry was arrested for simple battery on August 7, 2012, and pleaded guilty to the charge. Landry served a 90-day supervised probation for that charge.

KATC spoke to a parent of the children mentioned in The New York Times article, Mary Mitchell. Mitchell tells us why she and her children decided to speak out to The Times about the school. “My goal is to protect other children and not let him hurt others.” For more parents’ reactions, click here.

T.M. Landry is slated to open a second campus in Opelousas in a building formerly owned by the Diocese of Lafayette. In a statement to KATC, the diocese says it donated the building to the school and has “no interest (in), by ownership or otherwise,” and is “not affiliated in any way” with the school or its foundation. The statement adds that the diocese donated the property to T. M. Landry prior to the allegations coming to light.

Princeton University has responded in a statement to KATC regarding the allegations against T.M. Landry and the enrolled students who are possibly affected.

We are very troubled by the report and the allegations of fraud. First and foremost, we are concerned for the affected students and their families. We remain committed to attracting and supporting talented students, including students from groups that have been underrepresented in higher education and denied the opportunities they need to flourish. Every one of our students is a valued member of our community.

KATC’s Chris Welty was at the T.M. Landry College Prep campus this morning.

To read the full article from The New York Times, click here.

If you are a student,  a parent of a student, or former teacher of  T.M. Landry and would like to talk about the school, please call the newsroom at 337-236-6351.