An at-risk boys facility in Acadia Parish, once at the center of controversy, is back up for discussion. The superintendent of Lafayette Parish schools wants to enter into a contract with Acadiana Marine Institute, also known as AMIKids.
Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper says the contract will allow AMI to operate a satellite program on the campus of N.P. Moss Prep. Cooper says it's an alternative intervention for expelled students. "If they don't make it at that point, then they would go into a detention program. So, it really does complete the pipeline; so that students will never be expelled to home."
The contract would cost the school district roughly $184,000 for half a school year. Cooper hopes that the Lafayette Consolidated Government and the sheriff's office will help support the idea. "When these children are expelled or they dropout that's not only an education problem, but a public health issue. I think we can kill three birds with one stone here."
Lafayette sheriff Mike Neustrom is expected to attend the school board meeting Wednesday. Neustrom says in Lafayette Parish there's room for improvement with programs dealing with juveniles and the justice system. "There will be a lot of discussion about exactly what the school board's position is. We're there mainly to assist in what his efforts have been and are going to be in the future."
Neustrom says the Juvenile Detention Center is an option only if a student breaks the law. The goal is to prevent that from happening. "We're taking the approach, let's address the 12, 13, 14, 15 and hopefully they'll stay out of the adult criminal justice system. So, that's the underlining philosophy."
Cooper says there are about 30 expelled students who would attend the satellite program.