In light of recent threats that disrupted classes across Lafayette Parish, the school board is recommending changes for students who make threats.
Parents expressed that they are concerned for their child's safety in schools after 14 shelter-in-place orders, seven lockdowns and six lockdowns due to student threats were put in place since the start of the school year.
“The things you think are little are big to us, like knowing what period they were in are big to us,” parent of Paul Breaux Middle school student, Keri Barousse said.
District five board member, Britt Latiolais, suggested metal detectors in high schools.
“Starting in our high schools we're just going to run them through metal detectors. Because with the ammunition left on the bus we’re going to run every kid through a metal detector. It may have made everything that happen go a little faster with securing the school,” Latiolais said.
With that suggestion came with criticism from board member Justin Centanni.
“Lafayette High would be far more of a challenge to put metal detectors because there are so many more doors. How do you make everyone at Lafayette High go through the front door? You really can’t,” Centanni said.
Centanni also suggested a crisis intervention team.
“I would really appreciate seeing someone on each campus as a part of the crisis intervention plan to be designated to send out hourly pace calls with what’s going on on campus,” Centanni said.
Assistant District attorney Chris Landry also described what happens after the student is found issuing the threat.
“Once the Juvenile is arrested there is a 72-hour period that happens. Within that 72 hours, it then it moves to an answer hearing, where they can admit or deny the allegations, then you’re going to have a motion to take a month later. Then you have the trial period. So it can move up to three months depending on if we get the reports or information from law enforcement,” Landry said.
Before any such student comes back to school, the board passed a vote 8-1 that they must have a mental evaluation first. The new policy reads, “If a student is reported to a local law enforcement agency for threats of terrorism or violence, the student shall not be permitted to return to school until undergoing a formal mental health check.
Superintend Irma Trosclair says if students make a threat at a school they could be subject to permanent expulsion, “We do have options, you are not guaranteed to come back to a school where you have made staff other students or all of these families anxious and nervous,” Trosclair said.
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