A huge discussion at the Lafayette Consolidated Council meeting Tuesday. What do we do with students when in-school suspension at NP Moss Prep is not enough? One suggestion is a Lockdown or Day Treatment Center. Police chiefs, school board members, resource officers and the school superintendent were at the council meeting.
"Our job is not to get rid of these kids, but to keep them in school," explains LPSS Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper. Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux cut no corners either. School discipline needs to be dealt with. He says the school district should not have to stand alone. "Everybody was addressing it from only there perspective not realizing the impact it has on the next agency that child was passed onto."
Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper says Lafayette is on the brink of having a quality of life issue. A 30 percent drop-out rate equals a community in trouble. Lafayette is going to become a Baton Rouge or New Orleans, he added. "You got the highest per capita number of incarcerated youth in Lafayette than any place in Louisiana."
Cooper says a Lockdown or Day Treatment Center with teachers on staff is needed. The detention center is one site being discussed. "We're taking the hard road. This is the hard road. It's not popular because some say you're keeping those kids in school and they're disrupting everything. Well, where do you suppose to put them?"
But there's a problem. The detention center is already bursting at the seams and working with a limited budget. A representative from the center says detention is not the place for a quick fix. "They're going into a locked facility and that has its own mental burdens on a child and what it does to him mentally."
Again, Dr. Cooper says the topic of a Lockdown or Day Treatment Center is only a discussion at this point.