IOTA, La. — Stephanie Benoit lives in Evangeline, a small community just outside of Iota. She spends a lot of time in Iota and like others, she is concerned by the threats being made to schools in the area. "Kids today, they don't know right from wrong. I mean when we were kids, I'm sorry to say it, but we got our butts whooped", says Benoit. Iota High School sophomore Anastasia Millers says, ""I have a bunch of friends who they had threatened and we've seen them all over snapchat and we've gotten emails about it." She, like many students say they are fearful after the threats. She adds that she's "scared, but like at the same time [it's] kind of as if these kids are doing it as a joke because they have nothing better to do."
Law enforcement officers say that threats like this not only interfere with school but they also disrupt the entire community. "We have parents now who maybe have to work today and now they have to worry about babysitting, you've got a whole town on edge because they want to know what's going to happen to their school they wanna know what's going to happen to their children, their grandchildren, you know nieces and nephews", says Iota Police Chief Damon Daigle. The schools will have increased law enforcement presence once classes finally resume.
Acadia Parish Superintendent Scott Richard says that the three Iota schools closed Thursday will be closed again on Friday.
Richard says that the closure is based on current information regarding the investigation into recent threats made on social media against the schools. Iota Elementary, Iota Middle and Iota High School will be closed on Friday January 24, 2020. Classes are expected to resume as normal on Monday January 27.
Updates will be provided as information becomes available. All other public schools in Acadia Parish are open Friday.
Iota Police Department released a statement on the investigation so far saying that they "do not take offenses against our children lightly."
The full statement from Superintendent Richard is below:
Based on the most current information available to the school system regarding the ongoing law enforcement investigation into social media threats made toward the safety of the schools in the Iota community, Iota Elementary, Iota Middle and Iota High School will be closed tomorrow, Friday, January 24th, 2020. We appreciate the cooperation of students, parents, school staff and various law enforcement agencies as we work to resolve these safety issues. We plan to resume normal operations Monday, January 27th. We will provide updates as more definite information becomes available. All other public schools in Acadia Parish are open Friday